The holiday season can be a joyous time for most, but for some, this time of year can increase stress and anxiety. According to Psychology Today, 38 percent of people reported experiencing an increase of stress during the holiday season due to financial constraints, the pressures of gift giving, increasingly busy social schedules and family gatherings.

Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s psychiatrist Chad Lennon, MD, recommends taking time for yourself and being realistic about the demands of gift giving and attending holiday gatherings. Setting limitations and communicating your limitations to friends and family can help avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.

To prevent the holiday blues and boost your mental wellness during the holiday season and throughout the year, Dr. Lennon offers the following tips:

  • Get a good night’s rest
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Make time for at least 30 minutes of physical exercise every day
  • Establish a network of family or friends to give you emotional support
  • Get at least 15 minutes of sunlight each day

If your feelings of stress and anxiety persist well past the holiday season, you may be suffering from depression, a serious mood disorder that can affect your daily life. Stress and anxiety can feel intensified in people with depression.

“Depression can make everyday tasks like getting out of bed, preparing children for school or personal hygiene might seem insurmountable,” said Dr. Lennon. “It’s important to seek treatment early from a licensed mental health professional if you or a loved one feels overwhelmed or persistently lethargic or sad.”

If you are struggling with feelings of prolonged anxiety, hopelessness and sadness, take our free online screening tool to see if you are at risk for depression.