With the holiday season right around the corner, some unwelcomed guests may join the party: stress and depression. These unwanted thoughts and emotions can easily make the holidays unmanageable.

Feeling disconnected with yourself or with your partner, excessive drinking, overeating, not exercising, spending money you don’t have, the loss of a loved one or a relationship, losing your job, or even having to deal with family you dread seeing can all contribute to the holiday stress and depression.

Sometimes planning ahead is not as simple as it sounds and at times we all need to seek support to help cope with these feelings. Here at Center for Change and Well Being, we want you to take control of your stress with the holidays! That’s why we came up with these helpful tips:

 1- First and foremost, let’s talk about your plan!

Make sure to plan out your holiday realistically. Schedule shopping days, parties, and family functions without forgetting about yourself. That’s right! It may be helpful to intentionally set aside some time to just relax and unwind as commitments can easily become overwhelmingly busy.

Speaking of taking care of yourself…

2- Don’t forget to keep Healthy Habits!
Overindulging on fatty foods and alcohol won’t make you feel any better, having a ready menu option for healthier comfort foods can help you feel more balanced both physically and emotionally. If you are particularly feeling down, Vitamin B can help with energy. Even just taking a multivitamin and Fish Oil daily can help reduce the blues. Remember to check with your doctor before taking any supplements!

Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try having a healthy snack before holiday parties to help with size portions, drink plenty of water, and get some regular physical activity each day.

Don’t forget to get plenty of rest too! The average person needs somewhere between 6-8 hours of sleep per day to keep rested.

3- What’s Your Budget?

It is so easy to overspend especially around the holidays.  We all want to buy nice gifts for the people we care about. But before you go buy that Tiffany’s bracelet for the one you love, make a list of the people you are going to buy gifts for. Then decide how much you are going to spend per gift per person.

Being aware of what you are spending will help you not become shockingly surprised of your next credit card statement.  Be smart with your finances!!

Knowing your budget by making a decision of how much you can realistically spend will only help you in the future.

4- Be realistic with your expectations with family

Remember Rome was not built in a day. If you know that there will be energy-sucking family members at your home or at a holiday event, make sure to take breaks.  Do not expect relationships to change over night just because it is a holiday. Know your boundaries before hand of what you can put up with and what you can’t.

Remember you can’t change how other people act; we can only control our own reactions and behaviors.

5- Get Yourself Out There!

It is so easy to become sad and isolate yourself, particularly if you are spending the holidays alone.  Do the best you can to not withdraw! Seek out friends, community groups, or religious groups. Check out meetup.com to discover events near you and join groups based on your interests to find new friends.

Volunteering is another great way of spending the holidays. Helping others will make you feel better about yourself.

Know that you are not alone.  You don’t have to suffer from holiday stress and depression. Use these tips to feel better and if despite your best efforts, you still find yourself feeling persistently sad or stressed, talk to us. Schedule an appointment with a therapist who can help you get back on your feet at Center For Change & Well-Being.