Dec 19, 2013 8:00 AM

Author: Kirtly Parker Jones, MD

5 reasons your tired this holiday season

1. Environment

When chores and holiday prep combine to keep you indoors, insufficient exposure to sunlight can result in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), manifested in depression and lethargy.

Holiday Fix: “Walk outdoors in the morning in the sunshine,” Jones says. “Don’t wear sunglasses—the sun needs to be on your eyeballs.”

2. Finances

Gifts, special meals and seasonal decorations make holidays expensive. Women are often more aware of escalating household expenses than men, Jones says, and more prone to the ensuing stress.

Holiday Fix: Budget for the holidays in advance, set a spending limit on gifts and ask others to bring a side dish to dinner.

3. Chores

Women often find holiday-specific tasks piled on top of their regular responsibilities: decorating the house, wrapping the presents, baking the cookies. “Often, people don’t complain … but being unhappy makes you exhausted,” Jones says.

Holiday Fix: Engage your family and friends in your work by asking someone to do such tasks as set the table and polish the silver; let the kids decorate the house.

4. Fitness

Exercise and a balanced diet replenish your energy and increase your resilience to stress. It can be hard to stick to a healthy routine when seasonal pressures strap your time and willpower.

Holiday Fix: Have a snack before heading to parties, so you will be less likely to overeat. Take a brisk walk around the mall before digging into your shopping. And stash a water bottle in your bag.

5. Spirituality

Culture and religion suggest that December is wrapped in a spiritual glow. But inward peace is hard to realize when you’re tired and overwhelmed by chores.

Holiday Fix: Listening to music lowers stress levels, studies show. Jones suggests playing favorite Christmas tunes to help whip you into the holiday spirit.

Need Additional Help?

The Center of Excellence in Women’s Health at University of Utah Health is a multidisciplinary group focused on enhancing the wholeness of health and wellness for women. 

Kirtly Parker Jones, MD

Kirtly Parker Jones, M.D., is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the vice chair for Educational Affairs at University of Utah Health Care

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