Photo: Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Christmas is a holiday tradition filled with joy and laughter. But it can also be a very stressful time for many, especially women.

Studies show that half of all women in America say they feel stress or anxiety during the Christmas holidays. Increased stress puts our health at risk.

Almost half of the women manage their stress by eating and drinking to excess. This excess can lead to extra pounds gained after the holidays.

Here are 10 simple tips to eliminate stress and get you through the holidays so you can be merry and light.
 

Stock photo by Getty Images

1. Exercise

If you feel the stress of shopping, cooking and cleaning over the holidays, just stop, drop and take a little time to exercise the stress away. Exercise reduces anger, tension, fatigue and confusion by lowering your body's stress hormones such as cortisol. Exercise also releases endorphins which help to improve your mood and acts as natural painkillers.
 

Stock photo: Vkbhat/Getty Images

2. Squeeze your stress away!

Squeeze your stress away with stress balls. Stress balls work by keeping your hands busy so your mind will relax your body. If you don't have a stress ball, you can make your own stress balls from common household items.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the fleshy spot between your index finger and thumb is called the hoku spot. Apply pressure there for 30 seconds to relieve tension in your upper body.
 

No photo

Photos by Sandra Rose/Sandrarose.com

3. Hug your stress away!

Our arms were designed for hugging. Hugging relieves stress and anxiety by releasing a hormone in our bodies called Oxytocin. Researchers call Oxytocin the "cuddle hormone" because levels of the hormone rises when we hug. Oxytocin not only relieves stress, it also lowers blood pressure and decreases the stress hormone norepinephrine. If you're feeling a little stressed, hug it out!
 

Stock photo: Getty Images

4. Light a candle

Burning essential oils or a scented candle can put us in a relaxed mood and reduce our feelings of stress. There are many varieties of candles and scents that calm and sooth our nerves and relieves stress. Aromatherapy can also improve sleep. Some of those scents include:

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Bergamot
  • Roman chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Orange or orange blossom
  • Geranium
  •  

    Photo: Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus

    5. Reduce your caffeine intake

    We can reduce stress by watching what we eat and drink. Some food and beverages increase our anxiety because they contain stimulants. Caffeine is a stimulant that can wreak havoc in our bodies. If you're feeling jittery, anxious or your hands tremble, you're probably consuming too much caffeine and other stimulants. To improve your stress levels, avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks during the holidays. Try drinking water, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk instead.
     

    Photo: EnchantedFairy/iStock/Getty Images Plus

    6. Chew gum

    Chewing sugarless gum is a quick and easy way to relieve stress. Studies show that people who chew gum have a greater sense of calm and well-being.
     

    Stock photo by Getty Images

    7. Spend time with family and friends

    Having a strong family support system can help you get through the stressful holidays. If you don't have family, there are many organizations where you can volunteer, such as children's hospitals, nursing homes, rescue animal shelters, etc.
     

    Stock photo by Getty Images

    8. Laughter

    They say laughter is the best medicine. Laughing helps to relieve stress by relieving tension in your muscles. Laughter also helps your immune system. A study of cancer patients found that patients who laughed experienced more stress relief than those patients who were simply distracted. If you're feeling stressed over the holidays, watch the comedy film Coming To America or a funny TV show. Or hang out with family and friends who make you laugh. Laughing is good for the heart too. No one ever actually dies laughing.
     

    Stock photo by Getty Images

    9. Learn to Say No

    You're probably the responsible family member who saves your money - and everyone knows it - so they come to you for money to buy Christmas gifts or pay their credit card bills. Juggling other people's problems is very stressful and unfair to you. The next time a family member or friend asks you for a "loan," just say "no." Saying "no" helps to relieve your stress in the long run.
     

    Photo by Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

    10. Stop procrastinating!

    Procrastinating increases your stress levels by forcing you to scramble to catch up to pay that late bill, which causes stress. Stop procrastinating. Take control of your life by planning ahead and setting goals. Stay on top of your priorities. Buy yourself a notepad or a dry eraser board and keep track of your bills, doctor's appointments, yearly mammograms (if you're over 40), etc. Give yourself easy tasks to do. Make a to-do list and then go down the list and check things off as you complete them. Always give yourself time to complete the to-do list.

    Merry Christmas!

    Sources: Belmar Pharmacy, Healthline.com

    No photo

    Researchers say more lesbians and bisexual women are diagnosed with breast cancer than heterosexual women. According to the National LGBT Cancer Network, lesbians, bisexuals and women who have sex with women are at greater risk for cancer due to certain stereotypical behaviors, stigma, and socioeconomic status.

    Read more »

    Talk show host Wendy Williams was spotted out and about in NYC on Monday, June 17. The photos show she is suffering from edema (swelling) in both legs. Wendy has Graves' disease, an endocrine disorder that causes hyperthyroidism, also known as an overactive thyroid. Graves' disease does not commonly cause marked edema in both legs. The cause of her edema is unknown.

    Read more »

    Usher Raymond fans were shocked and saddened when a Georgia woman filed a lawsuit in 2018 accusing him of infecting her with the herpes virus.

    Nothing ruins a sex symbol's public image like the knowledge that he has an incurable infectious STD. But all is not lost for Usher and other men and women infected with an STD.

    Read more »

    Cardi B

    We should all exercise daily whether we are pregnant or not. Doctors say exercising is good for both the pregnant woman and baby. Pictured above is rapper Cardi B "twerking" while performing onstage during day 3 of Coachella music festival in Indio, CA. Cardi is reportedly 8 months pregnant.

    Read more »

    Auntie Fee

    The recent untimely deaths of Internet stars Auntie Fee (pictured above) and Q Worldstar serve as reminders that heart disease is the number 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.

    For many people the first sign or symptom of heart disease is death. This is why heart disease is called the silent killer.

    Read more »

    Samira Wiley hands

    Last night, while I was editing photos, I noticed actress Samira Wiley had a dark vertical line on one of her thumbnails.

    Most people have flat or slightly raised vertical lines or ridges on our fingernails and toenails. Long vertical lines that run the length of the nail are usually not a health concern.

    But dark brown or black vertical lines or bands on nails should be evaluated by a doctor.

    Read more »

    According to the NY Daily News, NYC public schools will begin educating young girls about menstruation and providing free feminine hygiene products, starting today.

    Read more »

    TEXT

    Women were not designed to get pregnant or give birth after age 30. That's why there are more risks involved with childbirth after age 30.

    The reason women in their 40s have fertility issues is because the human body is not prepared for natural birth at that age.

    But according to authors Christa Orecchio and Willow Buckley, women over 30 can give birth naturally by preparing their bodies before conception.

    Read more »

    Yesterday, rumors spread like wildfire on social media that R&B/Soul icon Diana Ross was pregnant at age 71. The source of the absurd rumors were photos that surfaced on social media showing Miss Ross with abdominal distention.

    No, Miss Ross is not pregnant. One reason for her excess belly fat may be post-menopausal hormone levels.

    Read more »

    Amber Rose

    Socialite Amber Rose sparked concern on social media when she posted this photo of herself and Instagram model Lira Galore on Instagram.

    Amber's alert followers noticed Amber and Lira had a white coating on their tongues. Amber's followers suspected a yeast infection might be the cause.

    Many of Amber's followers suggested tongue scrapers or a trip to the doctor (considering her unhealthy sexual lifestyle)

    Needless to say, Amber deleted the photo.

    Read more »

    Chris Brown and Royalty

    Troubled singer Chris Brown is trying his best to be a good father by overindulging his only child, Royalty. Brown, who grew up in a violent single-parent household, did not have a good foundation to learn good parenting skills because his own mother lacked good parenting skills.

    Read more »

    Wanda Smith

    Longtime V-103 Morning Show co-host Wanda Smith was recently hospitalized with diverticulitis, a painful inflammatory infection of the intestines.

    If you are an Atlanta resident who listens to V-103 you may recall the days when Wanda and Frank Ski promoted colonic cleansing. This is when the colon is flushed with gallons of water to supposedly flush out the bad toxins.

    Read more »

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

    PCOS means Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or many ovarian cysts. PCOS can cause health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity and high cholesterol levels. The cause is unknown and the condition is thought to be genetic (runs in the family).

    Read more »

    Cassie Ventura

    Nurses and doctors study long hours burning the midnight oil for years just so we can earn a professional degree that tells a state we are qualified to be licensed. Then along comes clueless folk like pseudo singer Cassie Ventura who has been sick for 3 days with Ebola-like symptoms. Instead of going to see a doctor, she calls Boomqusiha from around the way who advises her to swallow a concoction of herbs, plants, citrus fruit and marijuana seeds to cure what ails her. Then we wonder why young people like Peaches Geldof suddenly drop dead? #RIP.

    Read more »

    Rare case of female-to-female HIV transmission

    The CDC is reporting a rare case of female-to-female HIV transmission. According to the CDC, a lesbian in Texas contracted HIV from her female partner.

    The woman is believed to have been infected by her 43-year-old lesbian partner through "rough sex."

    Cases of female-to-female HIV transmissions through lesbian sex are so rare that when it does happen, it makes headlines.

    Read more »

    7 Heart Attack Warning Signs Women Shouldn't Ignore

    According to a report on Foxnews.com, an estimated 38,000 women under age 50 suffer heart attacks each year in the United States.

    Studies show that most women can't differentiate between a heart attack and indigestion.

    Most women who are having a heart attack put off going to the emergency room because the symptoms are so vague. Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack can mean the difference between life and death.

    Read more »