Oftentimes the holidays will bring about a certain level of unwanted stress in our lives. If not dealt with in an effective and healthy way this stress and depression can often ruin our holidays and impact our health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support from others can help ward off stress and depression.

Tips to help prevent holiday stress and depression

Oftentimes when stress anxiety and depressive feelings are at their peak it’s hard to stop and re-group. The following are some helpful tips on how to help deal with these unwanted feelings and hopefully enjoy your holidays.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings – if someone close to you has recently passed away or you are unable to be with loved ones and you feel sad, know that these feelings of sadness are ok. Take time to cry and express your sadness. Don’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holidays.
  2. Reach out to others – if you are feeling lonely or isolated try to reach out to someone. Others can offer the support and companionship you may need. Also, volunteering your time may lift your spirits.
  3. Set aside differences – try to accept family members and friends as they are, even when they don’t live up to all your expectations. Try to be understanding if others get upset or distressed, chance are others are also feeling stressed by the holidays.
  4. Be realistic – the holidays don’t have to be perfect. Allow things to change and grow.
  5. Stick to a budget – before you go shopping, decide how much money you have to spend, then stick to that amount. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
  6. Plan ahead – set aside specific days for specific activities. This will help prevent last minute scrambling.
  7. Learn to say no – saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Others will understand if you can’t participate in everything.
  8. Don’t abandon healthy habits – don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence of any kind simply adds to your stress and anxiety.
  9. Take a break – make some time for yourself. Simply taking 15 minutes for yourself, without any distractions, can refresh your mind to help you handle everything you need to.
  10. Seek professional help if you need to – despite your best efforts you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable, hopeless, and unable to face routine chores and activities. If these feelings last for a while, consider talking to a mental health professional.