LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For many, the holidays bring to mind fond memories of happy times with family and friends. For others, the holidays aren’t so picture-perfect, according to Dr. Ken Hopper, Chief Medical Officer for LifeSynch – the behavioral health unit of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM).
Some people feel overwhelmed during the holidays, worrying about things like how to pay for gifts they can’t afford or how to please difficult relatives. Fortunately, there are things people can do to make the holidays less stressful. Dr. Hopper offers the following tips for a more joyful and less stressful holiday season:
1. It’s OK to say “no”
Don’t take on more than you can handle. That’s a sure path to stress. If you find yourself taking on too many things, get others to help or find a way to simplify things. For example, if you’re asked to bring dessert to the department holiday lunch, then stop by the bakery and pick one up.
2. Put the past behind you
Over the years, you may have developed issues with family members or others that you see over the holidays. If so, go into this meeting with a positive attitude. Don’t start a discussion that could lead to an argument. It may be difficult, but you and everyone else will have a better time if you remain pleasant, calm and in control. Remember, if an event makes you too uncomfortable, you can always leave.
3. Coping with grief and loss
The holidays can be a time of sadness and longing for lost loved ones. Grief and loss are difficult, but some things can help you cope. Accept that change has happened, and that your life is different now. Be open about your feelings. You may want to honor your loved one with a special toast or prayer at a family gathering.
4. Watch those excess pounds
If you don’t put the weight on, then you won’t have the stress of trying to take it off. If you know you’ll be going to a party with lots of tempting treats, have a plan in mind before you go. Eat something healthy before you head out. That way you won’t be too hungry when you arrive. While you’re at the party, focus on healthier choices. But don’t deprive yourself – enjoy one, small, decadent treat that you just have to have.
Another tip: Check with your employer. You may have access to a wellness program and health coaching to help you stay on track.
5. Focus on what means the most to you
The holidays should be a special time. Do something you enjoy. Maybe you like spending time with your family watching favorite holiday movies, putting up lights or joining friends for an evening out. Perhaps it’s taking in the sights and sounds of the mall, planning and hosting the holiday dinner or helping an older person or a family that’s less fortunate than you. Whatever you care about most, try to take time for things you enjoy.
6. Don’t overspend
Make a detailed budget and follow it. Don’t put charges on your credit card that you can’t pay off quickly. Be sure to compare prices when you’re shopping. If you’re from a large family, consider drawing names instead of buying gifts for everyone. Or you may want to give one gift for the whole family. Consider making gifts or giving IOUs for personal services, such as a car wash or an evening of babysitting. You may even suggest not exchanging gifts. Get together for a meal or fun outing instead.
7. Manage what you can
You may not be able to manage all the holiday stress in your life. However, managing what you can will help you enjoy the holiday season more. Understand that you can’t be everywhere to do everything – and that’s OK.
8. If all else fails, get help
There’s no shame in seeking help. Reach out to family and friends, local support groups, and churches. Additionally, companies like LifeSynch offer confidential 24-hour crisis counseling services. A service like this might be offered through your company’s employee assistance plan at no cost to you.
LifeSynch is a national health and productivity solutions company with corporate operations in Irving, Texas, and an operational service center in Little Rock, Ark. LifeSynch’s mission is to identify, develop and apply innovative behavioral-focused solutions that optimize health and productivity. LifeSynch provides total behavior solutions to more than 4 million members. For more information, visit http://www.lifesynch.com/.
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.3 million medical members and approximately 7.3 million specialty-benefit members. Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplemental benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals.
Over its 48-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.
More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s web site at http://www.humana.com, including copies of: