ATLANTA - Suffering from holiday overload?
You're not alone.
"I think everyone has an extra layer of stress at this time of the year," says Dr. Hansa Bhargava, a pediatrician and medical editor at WebMD.
Many of us, she says, tend to take on too much this time of year.
"So, we have parties to go to, social events, Christmas lists, where we have to get presents," she says. "And I think that can create stress."
But Bhargava has a handful of suggestions that might turn down the stress.
"#1 is outsource," she says. "So, if you're planning a holiday party and you're going to cook a big feast, how about make a potluck? Try and find ways to actually make it less work for yourself."
If your holiday to-do list feels a little overwhelming, try eliminating a few items.
"One lady told me that she crossed out Christmas cards, and decided she's not going to send out Christmas cards," Dr. Bhargava says. "And, it was a huge stress relief because that took her hours and hours of time."
Family get-togethers can also sometimes get complicated, with high-maintenance relatives, and people who like to push your buttons.
Bhargava recommends giving yourself a break.
"Try to take some moments for yourself," she says. "Step away from the situation. Calm yourself down. Or say, 'Hey, you know what? I need to go take a shower,' and go and sit in the bath instead."
Also, build in some time in your holiday schedule just for you, to allow yourself to decompress, Dr. Bhargava recommends.
"So whether it's going to an exercise class, taking a bath, meditating, or just getting that extra hour of sleep, do it," she says.
If you've accepted too many invites, try scaling back a bit.
"Or, maybe you go to a social commitment, but you only stay for an hour," she says. "So you can get home on time and decompress."
And remember, Dr. Bhargava says, it's okay to say no.
"Just tell them you have another commitment. They don't need to know that commitment is a bath at home," she says.