Physical Impact of Holiday Stress

You might think that holiday stress just comes with the territory. But it doesn’t have to — and if you find yourself feeling stressed at the holidays every year, you may put yourself at risk for physical effects. Find out why staying stress free is good for both body and mind.

While it’s true that stress is a part of life, problems can start when there’s too much stress on the body, something that can easily happen at the holidays. A person’s already hectic schedule can be compounded by holiday-specific tasks that carry their own demands and deadlines.

Everyone’s stress limit is different, but when someone starts to suffer the physical impacts of stress listed below, it may be time for him or her to speak with a doctor and reevaluate holiday expectations and obligations. In addition to causing emotional, cognitive and behavioral issues, stress can cause physical symptoms as well. Examples include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Low energy
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw and teeth grinding

Stress doesn’t just cause immediate symptoms. Over time, it can cause chronic health conditions, including frequent colds and infections, cardiovascular disease, obesity, eating disorders, gastrointestinal, menstrual and sexual problems and skin and hair conditions.

If you’ve found your stress levels typically rise during the holidays, try to get ahead of it this year by adjusting your expectations, reducing obligations and taking some time to actively enjoy the season. If you feel stressed or if you are experiencing any symptoms, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

This information has been created and supplied to you courtesy of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. The information is general in nature and is intended to provide you with an overview of the wellness topic to help you and your family get and stay healthy. It is not intended as a substitute for the professional advice and care of your doctor. Always speak with your doctor before starting an exercise program or diet. If you have any questions or concerns about your health or the health of any of your family members, consult your doctor.