Many people look forward to the December holidays, but if you struggle with the winter blues and holiday stress, you’re not alone. Stressors may include having more on your plate, seeing out-of-town family members, struggling to stick to your budget for gifts, eating less healthfully, and experiencing mood changes from decreased sunlight. The Thumb Community Health Partnership (TCHP) is encouraging Thumb families to stay healthy physically and mentally this holiday season.

If you often feel stressed or sad this time of year, it may be time to introduce some new self-care practices into your holiday routine. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following steps for managing stress around the holidays.

1. Set aside time to process negative feelings, such as grief, that tend to surface for you during the holidays.

2. Help others by donating your time or money to a good cause.

3. Create and follow a budget for holiday spending. Avoid overspending on gifts, and move the focus to quality time with your loved ones.

4. Focus on your physical and emotional well-being. Follow a regular sleep schedule, stick to mostly nutritious foods, and get plenty of exercise. If your holiday plans bring extra stress, try mindfulness practices like meditation.

5. Recharge your social battery with plenty of breaks and alone time.

6. Speak to a trusted friend or if needed, a counselor about how you’re feeling, especially if you experience high stress or anxiety levels for more than a week.

For more information about coping with the holidays, talk to your doctor or mental health professional, visit www.Facebook/ThumbHealth, or contact Kay Balcer, TCHP Director at 989-553-2927.

—Thumb Community Health Partnership