Dealing with Holiday stress

Cleaning, shopping, parties and events... the Christmas season can be quite hectic with all of the commitments and expectations people face.

With all the stresses of the season, it comes as no surprise that health care professionals find that the holiday season is a difficult time for those already dealing with stress and depression.

The Mayo Clinic published a list of tips that can help those dealing with holiday anxiety. These tips may not eliminate the stress, but it can help to minimize it and help people cope with what can be a trying time of year. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones.

Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.

Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent lastminute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.