EDITORIAL: Keep the holidays happy

It's the most wonderful time of the year. But, if you find yourself feeling anxious, depressed or irritable in the months between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, you're not alone.

A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found these feelings stem from lack of time, budget worries, gift-giving pressure and stress over family gatherings.

So, how do you make it to 2023 with your sanity intact?

Beware the sweet treats. Whether it's from the candy cane in your stocking or another slice of pie, there is no shortage of sweets during the holidays. However, you have to be careful not to overdo it. If you feel irritable or stressed, too much sugar could be to blame. Sugar has been linked to brain inflammation, which researchers believe causes depression.

Create a budget. One poll found 53 percent of people experience financial stress over the holidays. To combat that, try tips like:

• Buy in bulk. Some gifts are cheaper by the case or during special holiday sale promotions.

• Draw names and conduct a family gift exchange.

• Get creative with homemade gifts or donate to a charity in someone's name.

• Make a list of people you are giving gifts to and set a maximum dollar limit for each person.

Get moving. When the weather cools, it's easy to want to hibernate inside. But instead of letting winter throw you off, keep active! You can go for a walk, work out while watching TV or host a family dance party in the living room. Bonus points if the dancing happens in matching holiday pajamas.

Reframe your thinking. It's okay if you break an ornament or burn the homemade donuts. Not every detail of your life has to be Instagram-worthy. If something doesn't work out right, consider how minor that inconvenience is in the grand scheme of things. Focus on the fact you are making memories with people you care about. Positive thinking increases your lifespan, reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and even boosts immunity.

Set expectations. Though you might want to show up for every event to which you're invited, that doesn't mean you are obligated to go. Consider capping how many events you'll attend this year or setting a time limit on how long to stay. Also, set boundaries. You do not have to engage in controversial topics or heated discussions. You can change the subject to positive topics or nicely end the conversation and walk away.

Gift of self-care. Don't you deserve to treat yourself this season? While planning gifts for others, don't forget to focus on your physical and mental needs as well. Take at least a few minutes a day to do something that's just for you, like curling up with a book, taking a quick walk, or pausing for meditation. A little self-care will allow you to feel your best and be more present for your friends and family.

Speak with your physician if you are feeling stressed. If you do not have a provider, visit NW-Physicians.com to find one near you today!

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a licensed 73-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.