VICENZA, Italy -- Managing stress during the holidays upon us can be stressful itself. Following are some tips for stress management during this busy season:

Set and keep manageable expectations. Try to set realistic goals and budgets, and organize your time by making lists and prioritizing the important activities. Don't try to buy happiness with a pile of gifts; instead, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.

Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some of your time to help others.

Enjoy free activities, such as taking a drive to look at holiday decorations, going window shopping or making a snowman with your children.

Don't abandon healthy habits. Overindulgence can lead to stress, guilt and weight gain. Be aware of excess drinking, as it can be harmful in a multitude of ways, including increasing feelings of stress or depression. Instead, count your drinks, have a healthy snack before attending a holiday party, get plenty of sleep, and incorporate daily physical activity.

Try something new. Celebrate the holiday season in a new way and start new traditions.

Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends, or connect with someone you have not heard from in a while.

Learn to say "no." Saying yes to everything can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and family will understand if you are unable to participate or lead every project or activity.

Take time for yourself. Recharge your batteries. Let others share in the responsibility of planning activities or cooking. Find something that reduces your stress such as taking a walk, listening to music, reading a book, or getting a massage.

Acknowledge your feelings. Realize it's normal to feel sadness or stress and it's ok ayto take time to express your feelings.

Seek professional help if needed. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently depressed, unable to sleep or anxious. Make an appointment with a mental health professional by visiting the Behavioral Health desk or calling DSN 636-9140, comm. 0444-61-9140. You can also visit a chaplain, or call the Chapel Office at DSN 637-7575, comm. 0444-61-7575.

If it is more urgent, call the Chaplain Crisis Line at DSN 637-2273, comm. 0444-66-2273. Finally, there is also the option to make an appointment with a Military & Family Life Consultant (MFLC) by calling 333-489-8967 or 345-077-0476.