The holiday season often brings more unwelcome guests, shopping, debt, cooking and cleaning than any other time of the year. It’s no wonder stress or depression follow closely behind.

With some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the very merry season more than you thought you ever could!

These top 5 tips from our Blue Horizon Counselling team can help manage or prevent your stress and depression.

Set aside your differences

Accept family members and friends as they are, although they may not live up to your personal expectations. Hold off on arguments or disagreements until a more appropriate time and place. And be understanding if your family members or friends become upset or distressed when something goes wrong. There’s a good chance they are feeling the same way as you.

Make a budget and stick to it

Before you head out to go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Be realistic and then stick to your budget! Buying happiness with an avalanche of gifts rarely works in your favour. Give these alternatives a try: Donate to a charity in someone’s name, give homemade gifts, or start a family gift exchange.

Don’t let your healthy habits fall away

The holidays should never become a free-for-all. Overindulgence will only add to your stress and guilt. Think about trying these suggestions to stay in control. Have a healthy snack before attending each holiday party so you don’t go overboard on sweet, cheese and drinks. Ensure you are still getting plenty of sleep. Incorporate regular physical activity into each day, no matter how small.

If you struggle with overeating or even binge eating during the holiday season, then we might just have the solution for you! Register for our Impulsivity Binge Eating online course and conquer your urges sooner.

Plan ahead of time

Mark out on your calendar specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and attending parties. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list to match. This can help prevent last- minute scrambles to buy forgotten presents or ingredients. And don’t forget to line up help for your party prep and post-party cleanup.

Finally – if you feel you need it, seek professional help.

Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional like our expert BHC counsellors. Call us on 0403 866 997 or contact us today.

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