Surviving holiday stress


By Emily Delzell

Published On: Nov 18, 2019

Last Updated On: Dec 13, 2021

Stress spikes to unhealthy levels for many during the holiday season, according to the American Psychological Association.

Whether it’s too many family obligations (and sometimes family feuds), late-night trips to the refrigerator, or overspending on gifts, all sorts of things can take a toll on your holiday cheer.

And for people with eczema, it can cause flare-ups, intensify itching and fuel the urge to scratch. Stress — particularly this time of year — isn’t always avoidable, so managing it is key to keeping eczema under control and safeguarding your overall health.

Here are some tips to help lower your anxiety.

Manage expectations for yourself and for others.

If you expect to produce a dinner where the food and décor are flawless and everyone arrives on time and behaves beautifully, you’re going to be disappointed.

Be realistic, know that’s it not the end of the world (probably not even a big deal) when events stray from the plan and be compassionate to yourself and to others when the unexpected happens.

Learn to be OK with saying “No.”

Some of us are hardwired to say yes to requests, and the holidays — a prime time for guilty feelings (see “noshing on rich food and drink”) — make it even harder to say no.

If your child’s wish list is outside your budget, explain and help them prioritize. When you get an invite to a holiday party you’d rather skip, politely decline. The more you practice delivering a courteous, “I can’t make it, but thank you for asking,” the easier it becomes.

Carve out some time for yourself.

Besides providing much-needed time for decompression and relaxation, self-care can help keep eczema in check and stave off viral illnesses to which stress makes you susceptible.

Make time for skincare, nutritious meals and enough sleep and try scheduling a day for a massage, some downtime with a book or movie, or whatever else calms your mind.

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