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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital


Managing Stress During the Holidays

Manage Your Holiday Stress

Learn how to manage your stress during the holidays.

By Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sometimes the Holiday season can be a stressful time for people. It can be a time filled with uncomfortable feelings like anxiety and depression. It does not have to be an unpleasant time of the year if we take care of ourselves. One way to do that is to find pleasurable activities to combat negative emotions that might come up this season.

Here are a few to try:

  • Take a walk- just a short 10-15 minute walk can help improve your mood.
  • Do something nice for someone- taking the focus off of our own stress and helping out someone else can decrease the impact of negative emotions.
  • Spend time in nature- pay attention to the sound of the birds chirping and watch for different wildlife. Notice the different smells around you. Focus only on that moment.
  • Call someone you trust- Let them know how they can be there for you. Meet up for coffee or go for a walk together.
  • Watch a funny movie or show- Laughter can be a great remedy for unpleasant emotions.
  • Listen to your favorite music and dance if you feel like it– blast your favorite song on your stereo while driving or at home and show off those dance moves if you are in the mood. Have a little fun!
  • Try a relaxation strategy- learn how to manage stress wherever you go by focusing on your breathing and being mindful. Visit this website to find mobile apps that guide you through relaxation strategies:

These suggestions might sound silly, especially if you have never tried them before. However, why not take a different approach this year and try something new to help beat holiday stress. Do not be afraid to ask for professional help either. VA offers support through the TIDES program (573-814-6277), Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (573-814-3958 or 573-814-3919), Behavioral Health (573-814-6480), and the 24/7 Crisis Line (1-800-273-TALK).

For more information about managing holiday stress, visit


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