Tips to Prevent Holiday Stress and Depression

1.  Acknowledge your feelings.  If you have lost a loved one or cannot be with family for the holidays, know that it is normal to feel sadness and grief.  It is OK to express your feelings and cry.

2.  Reach out.  If you find yourself feeling lonely, seek out a group, social event or volunteer to help lift your spirits and offer you support and companionship.

3.  Be realistic.  Realize that every holiday doesn't have to be the same as they have been in the past.  As time goes on our families grow and change.  Be open to the idea of doing things differently and creating new traditions and memories.

4.  Set aside differences.  Try to accept family and friends as they are, not everyone can live up to all of our expectations.  Set aside your differences for a more appropriate time for discussion.  Chances are that they are feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression too.

5.  Stick to a budget.  Set a budget to decide on how much to spend on gifts and food.

6.  Plan ahead.  To help ease the stress of waiting till the last minute and scrambling around, set aside specific days for shopping, baking and visiting friends and family.

7.  Learn to say no.  Know when you have reached your limit and know that it is okay to say no.  Saying yes can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. 

8.  Don't abandon healthy habits.  Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

9.  Take a breather.  Don't forget to make time for yourself.

10.  Seek professional help if you need it.  If you still feel down and out, despite your best efforts, talk to your doctor or a mental helath professional.

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