KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — While the holidays can be a joyous time, they can also be stressful for many people.

Some may not realize it immediately, but the holidays bring a load of different demands that people simply don’t experience any other time of the year. This could include financial demands, navigating family dynamics, heightened feelings of grief, and seasonal depression.

No matter what it may be, Shannon Dow with The McNabb Center said the first thing people can do is evaluate how they want to spend their time this holiday season.

She said this can be especially helpful when it comes to stressful family relationships which often revolve around differences of opinions or longstanding conflicts. Dow said it’s okay to set boundaries.

“Once you evaluate what is happening for you, then you can know better in regard to what boundaries you need to set,” said Dow. “If you need to set boundaries on the stressors, saying no to some of the demands, not being able to attend all the family gatherings.”

Dow also noted that over the last several years of the pandemic, holiday traditions have changed and now may be moving back to how they used to be. She said this year could be a chance to evaluate which traditions families may want to bring back and which ones they may want to leave behind.

As these stressors may seem more mental or emotional, they can also take a toll on a person physically.

Dow said if people find themselves unable to sleep or experience an increase in heart rate, it’s time to reconnect with themselves. Dow said a key to doing that is to make time for yourself and keep up with healthy habits.

“Sometimes during the holidays, we don’t continue with some of our healthy habits, such as exercise or healthy eating habits,” Dow said. “Be mindful that we are maintaining our healthy habits and then be kind to yourself.”

For those who are feeling overwhelmed or seeing an increase of mental health challenges, they can always reach out for help at The McNabb Center mental health crisis hotline at 865-539-2409.