The holiday season is anticipated with joyous expectations for many of us. Family, friends, festivities abound. But there are millions of people battling mental illnesses everyday that have a different type of anticipation: social anxiety, loneliness, depression, fear and even dread. The hoopla and chaos that delight some, overwhelm and shutdown others. If you feel frozen and confused in the midst of this warm and hopeful time, I would like to offer a few thoughts you may find helpful. Set Boundaries. The most important thing you can do to cope through the holidays is to know yourself, your limitations and your strengths. Have realistic expectations for the events you attend and the people you rub shoulders with. Do not give in to well-meaning people who may pressure you to stretch yourself and your emotions too thin. When at all possible, keep your regular schedule: eating, sleeping, medication. A steady, predictable routine will help balance you and keep you moving forward.