Can holiday stress make your allergies worse?

The tree is decorated, the lights are up, the kids are getting more excited as each day goes by. Yes, it’s that magical time of the year again: the holidays! The holidays bring the joys of family, gift-giving, and festivities…but also a whole lot of stress and fatigue. This can wreak havoc on your health in ways you may not even be aware of.

Health Effects of Stress

Stress, as you probably know, has a myriad of ill effects on your health. The same goes for being overtired and poor eating habits. During a time when worrying over gift shopping, late-night get togethers, and massive cookie trays are the norm, you may start experiencing some of these symptoms.

Just a few of the symptoms of stress and fatigue are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Hives
  • Gut issues
  • Frequent colds
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations

Did you notice something about that list? A lot of them sound a lot like allergies! What does this mean for you, the allergy sufferer? It means that you might notice an increase in your symptoms during the hectic holiday season.

How Stress can Make Allergies Worse

Eczema, for example, is known to flare up during times of stress, so you may have a flare up while worrying over the in-laws coming over and staying up night after night doing online shopping. If you suffer from asthma, squabbling with family members and a diet of candy canes and shortbread may make it worse. Basically, if you already have issues like allergies, then the stress, exhaustion, and poor eating habits associated with the holidays can exacerbate them.

How to Reduce Holiday Stress

But don’t despair. Sure, this season can be stressful, but it can also be a beautiful, joyful time of giving and spending time with loved ones. With a little thoughtfulness and planning ahead, you can help minimize the negative effects on your health.

Here are some tips for reducing holiday stress and fatigue:

  • Eat a healthy meal or snack before holiday parties
  • Get some type of physical activity in each day (even if it’s walking through the mall or a shopping center!)
  • Take a breather–escape for 10-15 minutes alone listening to music or talking a walk outside
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule
  • Set yourself a budget–this helps avoid the stress of overspending on gifts and events
  • Reach out–call up a trusted friend to talk about feeling overwhelmed or stressed

These are just a few suggestions. The key is awareness of the effects that holiday-related stress and fatigue can have on you, especially if you’re already dealing with allergies, asthma, etc. Remember to take care of yourself during this festive, hectic season and you’ll find that you’re not just happier, but healthier, too!

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