10 Tips to Minimize Holiday Stress, Anxiety and Depression

--Dr. Adam Scioli, Psychiatrist

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO FEEL. Honor your true feelings about the holiday. It's normal to feel a range of emotions and healthy to express them. Just because it's the holidays,  doesn't mean you should expect yourself to be happy the entire season.

DON’T ISOLATE. Seek the company of others. Whether or not you have family close by, it's important to be around other people.

MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Exercise a healthy realism toward the holidays. Expecting everything to go perfectly will likely lead to disappointment and resentment.

SET ASIDE RESENTMENTS. The holidays are the perfect time to express compassion and practice forgiveness. Do your best to accept family and friends as they are. It’s not possible to reverse anyone's past behavior, and trying to control others will likely lead to conflict. Let go of the past and save tense family discussions for a more appropriate time and setting.

BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE. When it comes to shopping for gifts or holiday groceries, do your best to create a budget and stick to it. You can't buy happiness, but you can spend yourself into regret and misery.

PROPER PLANNING is good prevention. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy gifts or do your holiday shopping.

JUST SAY NO. Avoid over-committing, as it will likely leave you feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and resentful. You cannot do it all.

AVOID OVER-INDULGING, and stick with your healthy routine to the best of your ability. Over-eating or excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to feelings of guilt and shame. Remember, alcohol is a depressant.

TAKE A TIME OUT. Decompress, Breathe, Meditate, Pray, Take a nap, Take a walk, Read a book, get a massage.

ASK FOR HELP. If you find yourself experiencing persistent depression or anxiety, particularly if you are feeling hopeless or helpless, seek the help of a mental health professional.