The holiday season brings a lot of joy but often for many of us it also comes with unwelcome guests, stress and depression. In an effort to provide the best possible care for a family member or friend, the physical and emotional toll can often be draining and isolating at times. There is probably no other time of year when that is more apparent than after the holidays. Here are some tips for caring for yourself during the year ahead.

Accept help: This year, give yourself permission to ask for and accept help. Think about ways to ease your stress by hiring a cleaning service, meal delivery or looking into home care assistance. Say “yes” when your family or friends offer support. Crying on a supportive friends shoulder will help you through the bad times.

Exercise: The cold weather makes us all want to snuggle under a warm blanket but one of the best ways to beat the blues is with physical activity. Routine exercise, such as walking or a yoga class, can help boost your mood.

Plan quiet time: After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, a soothing candle or song can help you to relax. Take a few moments a day to quiet the mind and calm the spirit. Letting go of your daily frustrations before bed will help you sleep better and then start each day feeling refreshed.

Explore respite care: Take advantage of a local respite care services and adult day programs near you. It will give you the gift of time, a well-deserved break in the day to handle your personal needs or to simply relax. Many health professionals recommend family caregivers make respite care a permanent part of their caregiving plan.

Everyone has negative thoughts or feelings that come and go over time, but when these feelings become more intense and leave you drained of energy, tearful or irritable towards a loved one, it may well be a warning sign of depression. Early intervention can help prevent a case of the blues from developing in to a more serious diagnosis of depression. Always discuss how you’re feeling with your doctor. Depression is an illness and going untreated will only make things worse.