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News: Reduce stress this holiday seson

Headline

Reduce stress this holiday seson

Date

12/16/2015

Byline

Senior Airman Breonna Veal

Lead

For some U.S. Service members, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day can be described as a stressful stage for numerous reasons. From buying many gifts for a majority of family members, to reminiscing on sad memories that are hard to deal with, the holiday season can be anything but joyful for some.

Body

Reduce stress this holiday season

12/16/2015 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.  -- For some U.S. Service members, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day can be described as a stressful stage for numerous reasons. From buying many gifts for a majority of family members, to reminiscing on sad memories that are hard to deal with, the holiday season can be anything but joyful for some.

U.S. Soldiers and Airmen alike can face physical and emotional difficulties, to include lack of adequate sleep, injuries, deployments, permanent change of stations, job demands and more. During the holiday season, being around many family members and fulfilling gifting obligations can add to the normal military stressors.

Victoria Spinelli, an internal behavioral health consultant for the troop medical clinic (TMC) at the McDonald Army Health Center, said that although the holiday season is stressful for all people, most military members go into the season with stressors from their jobs.

"Alongside firefighters and policemen, Service members have one of the most stressful jobs in the world," said Spinelli. "Adding unnecessary stressors throughout the holidays can be detrimental to the mental health of these service members. As a behavioral health consultant, I encourage all Service members to find the best way to manage their stress."

Along with emotional and physical stress of a job, Service members may also run into the holiday stressors of financial burdens and obligations. 

"In order, to remain stress free when it comes to finances, Service members should know their spending limit," said Spinelli. "By setting a spending limit, Airmen and Soldiers can prioritize their gift giving and distinguish between people's wants and needs while still being able to pay bills and remember their responsibilities.

Spinelli and the TMC also encourage people, Service members and civilians, to think about the kinds of events that trigger stress during the holidays. Below is a list of tips that can reduce stress.

· Know your spending limit. Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. This year, set a budget, and don't spend more than planned.

· Give something personal. Show love and care with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn't have to cost much.

· Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks and events to attend.

· Share the tasks. Don't try to do everything alone. Share the "to do" list with others. Spend time with friends and family while sharing tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.

· Learn to say no. Say "no" to events that aren't important to you. This will give you more time to say "yes" to events that you do want to attend.

· Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on creating the perfect holiday. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it's a holiday, family problems don't go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it's okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.

The TMC wants all Service members to enjoy the holiday season, as it is a time to be around family and friends. Service members are advised to not self medicate during the holiday season, but instead, exercise, engage in pleasant activities and relax.

"Most stress is self-induced," said Spinelli. "We, as humans, should take control of any situation and realize that sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and tell yourself that everything will be okay."

For more information on holiday stress or to set up an appointment with a behavioral health consultant, call the TMC at 314-7654, ext. 2.

 

Attachments

Created at 2/5/2016 1:53 PM by Brown, Andrew J Jr CIV USARMY MEDCOM MCACH (US)
Last modified at 2/5/2016 1:53 PM by Brown, Andrew J Jr CIV USARMY MEDCOM MCACH (US)