Easy Ways to Reducing Holiday Stress

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The holidays are filled with joy and quality time with family, but often stress can come along with it. Studies have shown the risk of getting cancer may increase due to long-term and high-level stress which weakens the immune system.
The National Foundation for Cancer Research has found that reducing one's stress level is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing cancer. Reducing stress can also help cut down on other related unhealthy behaviors such as over-eating or frequent consumption of alcohol.

"One of the best ways to reduce your risk of getting cancer is taking steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes not only nutritional and physical health, but also mental health," said NFCR's Chief Science Officer Michael Wang, PhD. "Stress is a detriment to a healthy lifestyle, and unfortunately it is often a side effect of the holiday season. With the help of our specialists, we've put together some tips this season so that you and your loved ones can enjoy a relaxing holiday together."

To reduce stress this holiday season, NFCR advises these tips:
Plan ahead. Stress can build up if you procrastinate your "To Do List." Try to accomplish small tasks each day leading up to the holiday. Buying gifts, decorating, and cooking can be much more stressful if done last-minute.

Know your limits. Being overwhelmed with events during the holiday season can impede your daily responsibilities. Be sure to practice saying "no" and avoid overcommitting. Don't be afraid to ask for help, and be sure to get a healthy amount of rest.

Try to eat nutritious foods and limit sweets during the holiday season. As tempting as it may be, consuming large amounts of unhealthy foods can contribute to decreased energy levels, not to mention feelings of guilt later on. Try to choose alternative options like whole grains, fruits and vegetables filled with cancer-fighting antioxidants, and lean meats during the holidays. Still enjoy desserts (it is the holidays after all), but keep it in moderation.

Let things go. Nothing's going to be perfect. Relax and enjoy time with family, even if a pie burns or someone is disappointed with their gift. Reconcile the situation, move on, and embrace the holiday cheer!

Exercise. Exercise is not only a great way to stay fit and reduce your risk of getting cancer, but it increases your endorphin levels and helps keep you stress-free.