With Christmas approaching, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and overstressed

Published 10:14 pm Friday, December 5, 2014

The number of days until Christmas keeps getting smaller, meaning the level of stress for most of us is on the way up.

The holidays bring so much joy, but they can also cause us to carry a heavy burden as family members make travel plans and the cost of gifts add up. With so much going on to add on to the usual work and life stress, it can all catch us for a loop.

The Mayo Clinic has a few tips for preventing holiday stress and depression:

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Be open to trying new traditions. Sometimes as family moves out or grow, traditions have to be altered. Choose a few to hold onto, but don’t try to keep them all if it isn’t possible.

Stick to a budget. This can be hard, especially where there are numerous people to buy for and several mouths to feed, but it’s important to create a budget and stick with it.

Plan ahead. This one may be the hardest to do during the holidays, but try to prepare for when you can shop, bake and get other holiday needs accomplished. This will help relieve any last-minute stress and allow things to go smoother.

Sometimes you have to say no. There are probably going to be numerous Christmas parties and festivities going on the next couple of weeks, but it’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be able to attend all of them. It’s okay to say no. Your family and friends will understand.

Take a breather. Even a few minutes alone, such as 15, can help you refresh and ease your mind of any building stress or pressure.

Don’t abandon healthy habits. With so many available sweets and distractions, it is really easy for anyone to lose track of their diet or not get enough rest during the holidays. Overindulgence only adds to stress, because it makes you feel guilty.

Set aside differences. It’s easy to get caught on in a silly argument with a family member you disagree with during the holiday season, but try to keep in mind the true meaning of the holidays. Don’t try to put expectations on friends and family members. Instead just accept them for what they are and move on.

The Mayo Clinic has many more tips on its website at www.mayoclinic.org.