Very soon another Christmas will be here. It usually comes with a mixed grill of pleasure and pain; pleasure in the sense that friends and families will receive gifts and presents from their loved ones. And the pain? Well, for most people, festive periods are the most stressful time of the year and that includes Christmas.

Being stressed often or for prolonged period can contribute to high blood pressure – HBP, also known as hypertension. That’s why it is important that you read this article deliberately and plan ahead to avoid being stressed.

According to medical experts, high blood pressure is a ticking time bomb. Failure to treat it can increase your risk of heart failure, stroke, dementia, kidney disease or a heart attack.

Top Christmas stress triggers

But if Christmas is a period for merriment and a period to share love and gifts with loved ones and family, why would it even be stressful at all?

A survey conducted by UK Charity Blood Pressure, identifies 3 leading causes of Christmas related stress. I list them below:

  1. Gift shopping: 29%
  2. Price over which gift to buy: 16%
  3. Cost: 12%

Here in Nigeria, a lot of people are under pressure during this time, especially those that cannot afford gifts for their loved ones and family members. This attitude, as simple as it seems, can cause a serious health hazard for the individual.

Stress related illnesses

As aforementioned, stress is associated with high blood pressure, but that is not all. There are other serious health problems that can be caused by stress, including:

  1. Weight gain
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cardiovascular disease
  4. Insomnia
  5. Depression and anxiety
  6. Digestive problems
  7. Hair loss
  8. Skin flare-ups

That really sounds serious, no doubt! But we can avoid all of that by simply maintaining healthy lifestyle in all we do. Listed below are ways in which we can avoid stress generally and especially this Christmas.

  1. Reduce your salt intake
  2. Don’t leave gift shopping to the last minute
  3. Stock up on fruits and vegetables
  4. Watch your alcohol intake
  5. Keep warm
  6. Monitor your weight
  7. Exercise
  8. Cut out caffeine
  9. Maintain a routine medical check up

Sources:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/herat-health/7-ways-to-keep-stress-and-blood-pressure-down

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blood-pressure-(high)/pages/causes.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/stress-and-high-blood-pressure/art-20044190?pg=2

https://www.kent.edu/

http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/mediacentre/Newsrealeases/StressatChristmasaffectsyourbloodpressure-1