It's the most wonderful time of the year, but for many people the holidays can also be the most stressful. Linda Cleary said, "You want to find the perfect gift and money-wise it's hard, especially for me being a single parent, it's hard to buy that perfect gift because everything is so expensive. So definitely, it will put a stress on you." She is not alone when it comes to feeling stressed-out during the holidays. Crystal Pickett said, "Sometimes I get stressed having to get gifts, and the whole Santa and spending time with family. I divide my time between work and shopping and everything." The closer it gets to Christmas, the more the stress begins to take a toll. People say they become tired or anxious. Clinical social worker Alfreda Gee says fatigue and anxiety are just a few of the symptoms. Gee said, "People also find that they are having trouble sleeping, they may wake up in the night too much. They may have problems going to sleep, a lot of people talk about their mind racing and not being able to calm down and relax." There are ways for people to cope. Gee said, "Try to still work out, try to make time for relaxation, continue to get as much rest as you need, eat well and limit alcohol use." Crystal Potter says she tries to limit her stress by making a holiday schedule around work and family time. For some people the stress may be too much to handle alone. Gee says you may need professional help if you feel isolated, depressed and like you cannot make it through the day. Another tip is to learn how to say no. You do not have to go to every holiday event. If you feel that you cannot cope with the stress and want professional help, call the Cape Fear Mental Health Association at (910) 794-1722 or visit www.capefearhealthyminds.org/.
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