For individuals prone to stress or depression, the holiday season can be a particularly vulnerable time. The hectic pace, too much family togetherness, too-high expectations, and other factors can raise stress levels considerably, particularly for individuals with a history of behavioral health problems such as depression.
The Mayo Clinic offers 10 tips for management holiday stress. We have paraphrased them below, but you can find more detailed information on the organization’s website:
- Share your feelings with others and don’t be afraid to express them.
- Reach out to others for support and companionship, including community, church, and social outlets.
- Have realistic expectations for the holidays, and don’t cling to traditions that have changed.
- Set aside differences with family members and be understanding of others’ holiday stress.
- Follow a budget so you don’t overspend. Consider making donations to charity in someone’s name or giving homemade gifts.
- Plan ahead for holiday shopping, cooking, etc. Avoid last minute scrambling.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. Overcommitting yourself can make you feel overwhelmed. Most people will understand if you can’t take on a role in every holiday project.
- Maintain healthy habits. Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to overindulge in food or alcohol or to give up daily exercise.
- Take a time-out when you need one. Make time for yourself without any distractions, to clear your head of stress and keep your calm.
- Seek professional help if you need it. If the holiday blues are getting you down, talking with a mental health professional can help give you a fresh perspective on your problems. Just reach out and ask for assistance!
By following these few simple tips, many of us will have a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday season. So before you pass the turkey this week, decide how you can make the holiday a simple and pleasant time for you and yours.