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Holiday Stress and Accessible Self Care

Dec 15
With the holidays around the corner, everyone is buzzing about a vacation, a break from work, getting ready for social gatherings, and even foreseeing what work may lie after the break. It’s an exciting time for everyone. With the heightened emotions, the inevitable sense of stress arises. One does not have to be a first responder or work in the healthcare field to experience the stress that may be building from finishing projects before the break, financial stress of the holidays, or even having to see relatives who you distinctly remember pinching too hard.

It may be the holidays, but that doesn’t mean the mind or body really get a break. It in these times that self care is important and preventative measures are needed to prevent holiday burnout. A recently released article on Online Mindful Stress Management observed a group of military civil employees using their company’s standard stress management program. The program was an online adaptation of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) exercises that could reduce perceived stress. Mindfulness allows people to feel centered within their own experiences without being overwhelmed by painful experiences that are inevitable in life. Using a randomized controlled study, the mindfulness intervention group participants were provided short mindfulness exercises to be completed once a week for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, participants in the mindfulness intervention group reporting reduced perceived stress compared to those who received no mindfulness intervention.

MBSR programs are often very costly (about $500 per person) and have barriers to access such as travelling, scheduling, and social barriers. This study showed that an online adaptation of MBSR at just one session a week produced results in civil employees of the military. Profoundly, online access to evidence-based stress reduction and other mental health tools can greatly improve mental health and well-being. Individuals absorb information differently and it is important to find out what works for you. Having a variety of choices and methods to access evidence-based tools empowers individuals to engage in self-care and improve well-being.

The target for the new year is a focus on the self. Enhancing your own mental health enables you to improve the well-being of your friends and family.

Full Article Link: http://media.proquest.com/media/pq/classic/doc/4269876021/fmt/ai/rep/SPDF?_s=HoBu%2FBZeV6IsxSaXamfxZH2j158%3D

Kathleen Qu, M.Sc

Kathleen Qu is the Product Manager of FeelingBetterNow. She has a background in global health and policy research. She is an advocate in breaking down barriers for mental health access.