Holidays can be the best time of the year, but holiday cheer can lead to stress and/or depression.

The holiday season can increase your everyday work requirements to mammoth proportions. Therefore, be proactive instead of reactive and prepare yourself for these extremely hectic days.

Healthy habits are important all year, especially during the holidays when we tend to eat sweets and more than our typical portions,” says Karen Landry, Ph.D., M.S.N., RN, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing. “Make sure you get plenty of sleep, and exercise daily.”

To keep the stress level down, Dr. Landry says to take a few minutes for yourself. This can be done by taking a short walk, enjoying a long bath, listening to holiday music or reading a good book.

If you find yourself feeling continuously sad, hopeless and unable to sleep or sleeping too much, see your health care provider and/or a mental health care professional.

— Blair Williamson