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Managing Stress During The Holiday Season

Holiday stress can come from finances, eating habits, family dynamics, and buying the right gifts.

Photo: Bart (Flickr)

Holiday stress can come from finances, eating habits, family dynamics, and buying the right gifts.

Noon Edition airs Friday at 12:06 p.m. on WFIU 1.

The holidays can be joyful time to connect with family and friends. But they also offer plenty of reasons to be stressed out.

Between the gifts you haven’t bought yet, the many holiday parties, and all the difficult family members, it’s easy to be overwhelmed.

What’s the best way for us to not only get through the holidays, but to enjoy the holidays?

This week on a special pre-recorded episode of Noon Edition, our panelists discussed managing all of that holiday stress.

Guests:

Liv Mercer: Therapist at the IU Health Center Counseling and Psychological Services

Bobbie SacconeRegistered Dietitian and Nutrition Counselor at the IU Health Center

Jesse BalzerPh.D. Candidate in Communication and Culture and Lecturer of Advertising and Consumer Culture, IU Bloomington

Watch the pre-recorded show below:

Conversation

Liv Mercer is a therapist at the IU Health Center and one things that stands out to her as a major cause of stress is expectations. Whether that be expectations of family traditions, gift giving, finances, or food.

“Expectations are huge during the holiday season,” Mercer says. “I think it’s really important that you put that out there. You have very safe conversations with your family members about what are our expectation and how do we perhaps loosen them up a little bit.”

With the holidays, there is always an abundant amount of food. The holidays can often break up our healthy habits, and stressful situations can lead to things like emotional eating.

Registered Dietitian Bobbie Saccone says it’s best to prepare and plan ahead for these situations around food and focus on maintenance.

“When we think about the holiday season, rather than being afraid of ‘Oh no! What’s going to happen to my waistline?’, thinking a little bit more in terms of ‘Let’s just try to maintain during this season. Let’s try to maintain where we’re at, wherever we’re at right now,’” Saccone says.

Consumerism is hard to avoid during the holiday season. Jesse Balzer is a Ph.D. candidate in Communication and Culture and lectures on advertising and consumer culture.

Balzer says the physical toll of holiday shopping (think Black Friday brawls) has lessened with e-commerce, but we still need to consider how consumer culture affects the ways we relate to each other through gift-giving.

“The one thing that still hasn’t been addressed is the way that gift-giving and care-giving is still so much tied to what you can buy,” Balzer says. “I think the values are very much tied into what you can buy and that obviously has in some cases very negative affects in terms of class background, race, gender, sexuality, et cetera.”

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