If you are seeking a good holiday mental health this season, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Many experience depression, anxiety and stress during the holidays, so if this is a challenge for you, know that you are not alone. It is a time of year many of us are expected to manage family obligations, parties, shopping, entertaining, and more.
If this sounds familiar, know you can minimize holiday stresses. Plus, doing so can result in opening yourself up to enjoying the season more than you thought you would.
Below are five tips to help you survive the holidays.
It Is Ok to Say No
If you are saying yes to activities you don’t want to be involved in, you will likely end up feeling resentful and flooded with responsibilities. Decide which traditions you enjoy and participate in those. Similarly, try to maintain realistic expectations of family and friends. Emotions are high during the holidays and it is helpful to try and enjoy family members as they are, even if they don’t act the way you want them to. Keep in mind that they might be feeling the stresses of the holidays, too.
Have a Routine for Holiday Mental Health
During the holiday season, things can get upended. Relatives have off school and work. Time is claimed and traded, sometimes without asking first. This can all lead to a sense of uncertainty. Or a feeling of not being in control of your own time. Plan your schedule and stick to it. Even if it’s as basic as waking up at the same time each day and reading the same book for 30 minutes before going to sleep. The structure of routine can remind you your time is your own.
Get Daily Exercise
This is important as exercise can release endorphins, which may improve your outlook. Plus, even if the weather isn’t perfect, it might be helpful to get some fresh air and get out of crowded rooms. Even if it’s as simple as a short walk each day, exercising daily can help to maintain healthy habits in other areas of your life, too. For example, remember that there is likely an abundance of food at holiday gatherings, it’s important to eat and drink in moderation.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Whether it’s your midday walk or an hour grabbed before everyone else is awake, take some time to be alone and be honest about what you are feeling this holiday season. Try journaling about your emotions or allow yourself time to pursue a hobby you enjoy. Give yourself time to fill your own creative well.
Consider Professional Help
If you experience persistent low mood or anxiety, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is common to feel lonely and need holiday mental health help, even when surrounded by people. If this is true for you during the holiday season, reach out to your community for support and companionship. If you are doing all you can and still find yourself feeling persistently sad, hopeless, or irritable, reach out to a mental health professional and talk through what you are feeling.