Family Matters: Tips for Curbing Holiday Anxiety

(Springfield, MO) -- Between shopping for gifts, putting up decorations, and a steady stream of family visits, the holidays can really take a toll on us physically.
Holiday stress begins to hover over mom Missi Genghini well before she hits the grocery store for her Christmas dinner check-list.

"I feel it in October."

Add another celebration in the mix and it's enough to make her head spin.

"Getting ready for Thanksgiving and then trying to plan my daughter's birthday, which is the 23rd of December."

According to physical therapist Deborah Arnold, from the Headache Care Center in Springfield, holiday headaches are not just our imagination.

"It's definitely a neurovascular change of that's going on in the body."

In fact, a simple shake-up in our routines is just enough.

"Your sleeping patterns may be off, you may be staying up late, maybe a little more alcohol than usual, a change in your diet," adds Dr. Arnold.

She says the first trick to curbing holiday anxiety is to simply inhale and exhale.

"Take some time to make deep breaths and think about just letting things go."

And while on those retail rampages, drink plenty of water. Headaches are one of the first signs of dehydration and try to stay on your regular sleep schedule, even if you're up late putting together pumpkin pies.

For Missi, the calendar may be clicking away faster than she can keep up.

"We're not even at Thanksgiving yet and I'm already stressed about Christmas."

But holiday stress is something she chooses to take in stride.

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