Stick to routines, reach out to help ease holiday stress

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs
"It's the most wonderful time of the year," so the Christmas song goes. 

For many people, however, the holidays are anything but wonderful.

Busy schedules, demands from family and friends, and other factors can lead some people to wish life had a fast-forward button so they could skip stressful holiday months.

Jamie Tillit, an Employee Assistance Program consultant at Robins, said as more coworkers are taking time off work and workplaces become short staffed, the work environment may add to loneliness and provide less support to workers.

Tillit said to avoid problems, people should stay busy and stick to their normal routines as much as possible. 

When life gets hectic, try the following:
· Be conscious of what you're eating, drinking, and talking about;
· Be fully there and aware during conversations with others;
· Try deep breathing;
· Use deep breathing to relax and slow down, so that you can enjoy the moment;
· Practice progressive relaxation; and
· Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and relax your body one area at time, starting with your feet.

Reaching out and helping others is another way to ward off feelings of loneliness.

"We get a sense of wellbeing by helping others," Tillit said. "We feel more connected and needed."

In addition to staying socially connected, Tillit said eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise are good steps toward feeling better each day.

"Reach out to those who have offered to help or have invited you to their homes or parties," she said.

Consider reaching out to your local spiritual community, if you have one. If you don't, contact Robins Air Force Base Chapel at 478-926-2821 for assistance in connecting to a spiritual community.

Still, a person can't completely avoid being alone. Find ways to enjoy time with yourself.  

Consider the following:
· Get up early and listen to your favorite music, while the rest of the house is asleep;
· Take a walk by yourself;
· Enjoy a relaxing bath or massage;
· Go for a spa treatment, like a facial or a massage;
· Go see a movie or a play; or
· Do whatever it is that makes you feel cared for and valued.

Sometimes people need extra help to deal with challenging circumstances.

"EAP consultants can see employees and their family members for up to six sessions per problem," Tillit said. "If additional services are needed, EAP can help get those services."

Tillit said if the employee is active-duty military, they can get help through the Mental Health Clinic at 478-327-8398 or Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647.

Defense Department civilians and their household members can call EAP 24 hours a day at 1-800-222-0364.