THURSDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- From crowded shopping malls to unpaid bills to an onslaught of out-of-town guests, the holidays can cause overwhelming stress. One way to remain calm is to manage unrealistic expectations, experts advise.
"Overly high expectations for the holidays -- be it around the food, the gifts or the family relationships -- can trigger anxiety and even depression," said Dr. Mallay Occhiogrosso, a psychiatrist at the Payne Whitney Clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, in a medical center news release. "Prioritizing self-care is important, as well as dialing down those unrealistic 'Hallmark holiday' fantasies."
Another expert agrees: "During the holidays, our lives become even more stressful as we try to juggle our usual responsibilities with extra holiday preparation and complicated family dynamics," said Dr. Maria Oquendo, a psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
The experts noted there are several other ways to avoid stress during the holidays, including:
Anyone who still feels depressed during the holidays should consider talking to a mental-health professional, the experts noted.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more holiday health tips.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, news release, Nov. 20, 2012
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