This time of year often brings holiday gatherings, gift giving, decorating and traveling. It’s easy to feel stressed out and overwhelmed when juggling all these activities while still maintaining a busy work schedule and supporting family members at home. Holiday stress can make us feel emotionally and physically exhausted, and frustrated.

Chad Lennon, MD, a psychiatrist with Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, says people are likely to cope with stress by overeating or abusing drugs and alcohol during the holidays. These unhealthy coping behaviors can pose serious threats to your health, mental well-being and your relationships with loved ones.

Dr. Lennon’s tips to reduce holiday stress

  • Don’t over commit.
  • Make a holiday spending budget and stick to it.
  • Practice self-care. Make time for yourself and do things you enjoy throughout the year.
  • Consider volunteering or donating to a person or organization in need. Doing something for others will lift your spirits and help others in the process.
  • Don’t eat or drink to excessively.
  • Establish a support network of friends and family and stay connected with them.
  • Get plenty of rest.

“It’s important to learn healthy coping mechanisms to stay mentally well during times of heightened stress like the holiday season” said Dr. Lennon.

If you are still experiencing prolonged feelings of stress after the holiday season has ended, you may need additional support.