Ann Arbor, Mich. - The holidays are generally considered to be a joyous time; however, for people coping with serious illnesses the holidays can bring unwanted stress. Michelle Riba, M.D., professor of psychiatry and associate chair for integrated medicine and psychiatric services at the University of Michigan Health System, recommends ways to steer clear of these unnecessary stresses during the winter months.
1. Incorporate a healthy attitude
2. Don't forget your medication
The holiday season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Forgotten medication will only add to the stresses and is something that can be easily avoided. Riba advises all patients to be sure they pack their medications in their carry-on if they are flying. She also suggests travelers contact the airline ahead of time to be sure their medication will pass TSA regulations and can be taken on the plane. There are usually options that make medications easily accessible.
4. Set limits
The holidays can get stressful when shopping for gifts while paying medical bills. Increased financial issues lead to increased stress. Riba encourages her patients to look at the issues at hand and take as much control of the situation as possible. It is necessary to set a monetary limit with family and friends to determine an appropriate gift amount and stick to it.
"Although the holidays are commonly viewed as a wonderful time of year, it is also important to recognize the sadness of those suffering from serious medical conditions. It is a time for reflection and a time of understanding," says Riba.