Ochsner Psychiatrist Offers Tips to Overcome Holiday Stress Reactions
NEW ORLEANS - Do you have control over stress, or does it control you? With the holidays around the corner, many New Orleanians may be feeling ovewhelmed. Ochsner Medical Center Chairman of Psychiatry Dr. Alvin Rouchell, MD, offers advice to cope with the hustle and bustle this season.
"Stress and feelings of being overwhelmed are your body's warning signs and you should take them seriously," explains Dr. Rouchell. "Sit down with a partner or friend and have a heart-to-heart discussion about what's going on in your life. Consider everything from long work hours and deadlines to the stress of relationships with family and friends, holiday shopping and holiday parties."
Rouchell then suggests you work together with your partner to create a plan to deal with the pressure and try to restore well-being. Some examples include:
- Only accept party invitations with people you want to spend time with. Don't feel pressured to say "Yes."
- Reduce long hours at work, set boundaries with relatives, friends and coworkers, and/or delegate projects.
- Refocus your mind and body: get a massage, visit a friend, and take a multivitamin daily.
"Consider seeking professional medical help if your stress becomes all consuming and you begin feeling persistent anxiety or depression," says Rouchell. A professional can evaluate your lifestyle and recommend treatments and stress-reduction techniques that can help enhance your immune system and protect you from future problems.
Shed Some Light on SAD
If you tend to feel down during the shorter days of winter, you're not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects people every year, usually in the fall and winter. Light therapy is the primary treatment for SAD in addition to medication and counseling. A simple home remedy is to get more exposure to sunlight, go outside for lunch, or, if possible, adjust your work hours so you get home earlier.
Ochsner Health System (www.ochsner.org) is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education. The system includes seven hospitals, a sub-acute facility, and 33 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana. Ochsner employs over 600 physicians in 80 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 700 ongoing clinical research trials annually. Ochsner was ranked "Best Place to Work" by New Orleans CityBusiness in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and received the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 12 consecutive years. Ochsner was ranked as "Best" Hospital by U.S. News and World Report in July 2007.