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Local expert offers tips on dealing with holiday stress

Anxiety, stress related to holidays very common
Holiday shopping a big stressor
Posted at 6:42 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 07:02:39-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The holidays can be an exciting time, but it can also be very stressful. Priority Health director of behavioral health Jeff Greshak offers tips for a calmer holiday experience.

“I think being stressed during the holidays is common and it has to do with a variety of reasons," Greshak said.

The stressors can be caused from holiday shopping and finances, or wrapping up a semester at school or work for the year. Then of course, there is COVID-19 and the continuous fears that you might infect yourself or others.

“It's certainly not a typical Christmas or holiday season and I think last year individuals thought maybe the 2021 holiday season would be different," Greshak said.

However, things aren't too different this year with COVID cases ticking up again and concerns about the different variants growing. Whatever the stressors may be, Greshak says giving yourself some room to breathe is important.

“It's really important that people take a moment of calm and engage in breathing activities to slow themselves down a little bit," he said.

Organizing your days and writing down your tasks can also help, but if that doesn't work, seeking out medical help may be the best thing to do.

“We need to reduce the stigma associated with people reaching out for help," Greshak said. "We all experience stress, depression, anxiety at different times.”