Stress- Urgent Care

Coping with Stress and Preventing Sickness during the Holidays in Oklahoma

First Med Urgent Care: Holiday season

The holiday seasons are upon us and you can’t afford to get sick.  You’re preparing Halloween costumes for yourself or your kids and you’re driving the kids to Halloween events.  You’re routing for your favorite team at football games, and you’re hosting watch parties, Halloween parties, Christmas parties…and don’t forget about ALL that food that needs to be bought and prepared.  Plus the Christmas shopping.

Or that trip to the relative’s house you’ve planned. You CAN’T get sick. Sometimes it feels like getting sick around this time of year is inevitable though. But there are certain reasons why people tend to get sicker quicker and more often this time of year, and if we let you in on those, you’ll have a better chance of staying well for all your events.

Number one, we are simply more busy and simply have more on our plate and simply feel like we are going crazy. Who hasn’t felt crazy last minute Christmas shopping in the mall? It happens. But the stress that comes along with all that can, in a round about way, weaken you emotionally and also physically.

That stress plays a part in weakening our immune systems. When you are weak, you’re more susceptible to germs.

Secondly, sometimes you loose sleep this time of year because there is just not enough time in the day to cram everything in. Lack of sleep can also render you more susceptible to germs because your body has not had proper rest, something that is essential for growth and recovery.

Below are ways to cope with stress and the hormones that cause immune system problems. Click here for more on this topic.

Chronic worry and emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems. It can trigger hormones that can boost blood sugar levels and triglycerides (blood fats) that can be used by the body for fuel. When the excessive fuel in the blood isn’t used for physical activities, the chronic anxiety and outpouring of stress hormones can have serious physical consequences, including suppression of the immune system.

It isn’t the stress that makes you ill. Rather, it’s the effect responses such as excessive worrying and anxiety have on various interacting systems (immune system, your heart and blood vessels, certain glands, hormones that are secreted) that can bring on the physical illness. There are things you can do, though, including lifestyle changes, to alter the way you respond.

What Lifestyle Changes Might Help Excessive Worriers?

Although excessive worrying and high anxiety can cause an imbalance in your body, there are many options you have that can re-establish harmony of mind, body, and spirit. Here are a few options that you can consider:

  • Talk to your doctor. Start by talking with your primary care physician. Get a thorough physical exam to make sure other health problems are not fueling your feelings of anxiety.
  • Exercise daily. With your doctor’s approval, begin a regular exercise program.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Stress and worrying provoke some people to eat too little, others too much, or to eat unhealthy foods. Keep your health in mind when worrying nudges you toward the fridge.
  • Drink caffeine in moderation. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which can trigger adrenaline and make you feel nervous and jittery.
  • Be conscious of your worries. Do not dwell on them. Set aside 15 minutes each day where you allow yourself to focus on problems and fears — and then vow to let them go after the 15 minutes is up.
  • Learn to relax. Relaxation techniques can trigger the relaxation response — a physiological state characterized by a feeling of warmth and quiet mental alertness. 
  • Have a strong social network. Loneliness may be as much a risk factor for disease as having high cholesterol or smoking cigarettes. Be a friend to make a friend.
  • Talk to a professional therapist. Psychological counseling can help you develop appropriate coping strategies to deal with issues that trigger excessive worrying. The therapist can help you by suggesting ways that may help you change. But you have to be the one to make the changes. Therapy is only successful if you work on getting better. – Click here for a more extensive version.

Getting a flu shot early in the season is also very important.

Along with these lifestyle changes, stopping the spread of the flu in your house before it starts will make for a much less stressful holiday season. No one wants to get sick, especially when they can’t afford to. First Med offers flu shots every day at our 5 locations throughout the OKC metro. We are open from 8am to 7:30pm seven days a week. Come in before the flu affects your house and let us help you prevent sickness and lower stress! Also, check out this free download with more information about Flu Season 2013.