ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — St. Lawrence Health is encouraging residents to take time for themselves this holiday season.

According to St. Lawrence Health, although the holidays can be filled with happy memories they can also bring sadness and anxiety for some. The organization says that a certain amount of stress is expected during this time of year, however, it’s important that residents don’t put too much pressure on themselves.

St. Lawrence Health Director of Outpatient Psychiatric Services Laurie Zweifel, Ph.D. explained how residents can work to manage their stress.

“The holidays are a happy time of year for some, but for others, they can be more difficult. Our daily structure and routines often change and can become more hectic and overwhelming,” Zweifel said. “One way to manage stress for yourself and family members is to keep a daily routine and maintain control over the things we can. Ask yourself ‘does this really matter,’ plan ahead as much as possible, and prioritize what is most important.”

The organization also said it’s important residents set clear boundaries and know their limits. They reminded residents that it is okay to decline invitations and activities in order to take time for themselves. Additionally, individuals should avoid overeating and excessively using alcohol and substances as they can increase stress.

Individuals are also encouraged to realize their limits and not to hesitate to ask for assistance. St. Lawrence Health also pointed out how dealing with the loss of a loved one can affect the holidays for some residents. Dr. Zweifel mentioned how finances and gift-giving can worry some because they will be alone, or are faced with being with too many people.

“When we think of the holidays, spending time with family comes to mind. However, this can increase anxiety for some,” Dr. Zweifel said. “Individuals who have strained relationships with family members, or traumatic memories may find this time of year more difficult. Social expectations and the fear of being judged at large gatherings or work activities can increase anxiety as well.”

She added that it’s important that individuals focus on spending their time with the people they truly care about or engage in traditions that are important to help them manage anxiety.

“It is important to stop and think about how we are feeling. Take time to express your feelings. If you are depressed, lonely, or isolated, seek out community or social contacts. Some in-person activities are still limited, but there are local online support groups, virtual events, and social media sites that offer support and companionship. Reach out to friends or family, and for some, helping others can be uplifting,” Dr. Zweifel noted.

Emotional support is available through St. Lawrence Health 24-hours-a-day by calling 315-261-5395.