5 Signs You're Headed for a Holiday Breakdown

PHOTO: Try these tips for avoiding stress this holiday season.

Is your credit card smoking from too many swipes? Does your psyche feel more fragile than a handmade Christmas ornament? Even if you have the temperament of the Heatmiser and the meanness of the Grinch (pre-triple-heart-expansion), you can get back on Santa's nice list by addressing these symptoms of yuletide woe:

You Can't Muster the Energy for a Single Jingle

If you can't seem to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, let alone go a-wassailing (whatever that means), you could be in need of a psychological speed bump, says psychologist Dan Gottlieb, PhD, psycholgist, frequent National Public Radio commentator, and host of the radio program Voices in the Family (WHYY-FM, Philadelphia). "The speed of our lives is out of control," he says, "especially at this time of year."

To boost your overall energy, expend a bit of it and get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes every day with a brisk walk or jog. Exercise can bust sleep-depriving anxiety levels by nearly 40%. For better sleep, carry a notepad and jot down the things that worry you, so they won't fill your head while you're trying to doze off. Take a warm shower or bath an hour before you hit the sheets. It'll prep your body for peaceful shut-eye.

6 Weird Signs That You're Way Too Stressed Out

You're Devouring Chocolate-Covered Candy Canes

Holiday stress has lots of people reaching for calorie-packed, sugar-loaded feel-good foods, notes Gottlieb. "When things get stressful, we gravitate toward comfort foods, sweets, and carbs," he says. "It's a sign your body, your soul, are craving care."

Fish-oil capsules contain the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which can boost the same brain chemicals that antidepressants jack up. We like Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon softgels—they're certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. If you'd prefer to eat an actual fish, dine on Alaska wild-caught or canned sockeye salmon, or mackerel from the Atlantic, twice a week. Those species are good for you, low in contaminants, and their populations are healthy in the wild.


More from Rodale.com:

How to Stay out of the ER This Christmas

Meditate Like a Marine to Pump Up Your Mental Muscles

8 Astonishing Benefits of Walking

67 Ways to Be Healthier in a Minute or Less!

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