Focus on quality family time to minimize holiday stress

Dr. Joanna Younker suggested focusing on creating "big-picture" memories instead of fixating on smaller details this holiday season. (FILE).

December is Less Stress Month, but medical experts say it isn't always easy to keep stress levels low at this time of year.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG 13 spoke with SSM Health Dr. Joanna Younker about how to help the whole family "keep calm and carry on" during the holidays.

"I think the extra hubbub, and all the societal pressures that are put upon us are extra things," Dr. Younker said. She said those extra things can add up at this time of year to create major stress.

Dr. Younker advised focusing on making big-picture memories and instead of fixating on smaller details. "When you look back at all your favorite holidays in the past, really what comes to mind for most people is the time they spent sitting in the living room around the Christmas tree, or in the dining room with their family," she said.

If holiday-season stress is weighing heavy on your mind, Dr. Younker suggested prioritizing spending time together as a family, instead of worrying about putting together the perfect schedule of events. "It's not the end of the world if everything doesn't go as planned," she said. "The important thing is being able to take a step back and say, 'Let's just come together as a family and take time for ourselves.'"

Dr. Younker said December may never be the most carefree month; but with a little flexibility and the right attitude, families can have plenty of opportunities for quality time together. "Keep it simple, that's what's going to help you make the best memories," she said.

Watch KRCG 13 next Friday at 5 p.m. for our next Family First segment - we'll talk to a family nurse practitioner about the importance of checking in with your child about their friends.

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