Nation’s emergency physicians warn keep stress in check this holiday season so you don’t end up in the emergency department

“For many, including emergency physicians, the holidays come with a daunting pile of obligations,” said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “Don’t overdo it because you can do serious damage to your health and wind up spending the holidays in the emergency department.”

Responsibilities may include sending cards, decorating, buying presents and hosting or attending parties. A long to-do list can be overwhelming. It is important to pace yourself, whether it’s eating and drinking or even shopping.

The American Psychological Association found that 71 percent of Americans report that money is a significant source of stress this holiday season because of the current state of the economy. Here are some tips to help you get through the season with the least amount of stress possible.

Get exercise: This is extremely important. Go to the gym, take regular walks or run. Make sure you are staying active in order to help reduce your stress level.

Watch your diet: People tend to eat more quantities of rich foods during the holidays. It’s okay to indulge occasionally, but do it responsibly and in moderation.

Get a checkup: If you haven’t had one recently, the holidays might be a good time to visit the doctor and have a routine physical.

Be organized: Have a plan, make a schedule and do it one step at a time. Do not wait until the last minute to do everything.

Be cost effective: Given the current economic crisis, no one should blame you for spending a little less this year. Keep it simple.

Ask for help: No one should expect you to do everything yourself. Ask for help when it comes to shopping and decorating as well as other tasks.

Get enough sleep: You shouldn’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep as well as daily downtime. Take a nap, take time for yourself, reenergize and relax. Your body will thank you for it.

“The holiday season is a time for you to be with your families and friends,” said Dr. Gardner. “You do not want to spend it dealing with some medical emergency that lands you in the emergency department. Take care of yourself now, reduce that stress and spend the time enjoying the holidays.”

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ACEP and MedicAlert Foundation are partnering to promote EmergencyCare and to educate the public about medical emergencies.

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