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Stressed Out, Tired and Sick over the Holidays? You're Not Alone

Health experts say no holiday chores or events are important enough to lose sleep over. Shut-eye is a must to ward off stress this busy time of year. (Daniel.../Flickr)
Health experts say no holiday chores or events are important enough to lose sleep over. Shut-eye is a must to ward off stress this busy time of year. (Daniel.../Flickr)
December 23, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - This time of year, many people focus on fun parties, quality family time and gift-giving, but it can lead some to get caught up in the chaos and consumerism of the holiday season - and that can leave them stressed out, tired and even sick.

Dr. A.K. Misra, an internal and sports-medicine physician and medical director at U.S. Health Works, offered a few suggestions for staying healthy and stress-free during the holidays. First, get your sleep, Misra said, because no amount of holiday chores or events are worth losing sleep over. Misra warned that the lack of rest eventually has an effect on your body.

"Be it headaches, be it being just slower, having a shorter temper," he said, "people should be able to cue in on the signs that we know about ourselves."

Misra added that people also are indoors and in close quarters, so germs spread quickly. He recommended washing hands frequently and trying not to spend too much time in crowded places. He said it's the time of year when we eat more than we should, and that can add to the problems. To keep energy up, he recommended eating balanced meals and healthy snacks, rather than relying on caffeine, fast food and holiday sugar fixes.

"Yes, what people do is, they'll 'stress-eat' - they'll eat poorly in response to stress," he said. "If you're putting bad fuel in, you're going to make this a lot worse."

Even though the weather is cold, exercise is key. Misra said taking a brisk walk outdoors or squeezing in a visit to the gym will help work off some of the stress associated with holidays.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI