Mental health during the holidays is as important as the other days. The holiday season is seen as the “best” time of the year. The whole vibe is so cheerful and merry. It just brings out the child in us. But, these times are not the same for everyone. Among the holiday cheer also exists the holiday blues.
Be it work pressure or family issues or any other mental health concerns, people experience stress in the holiday season as well. In fact, the holiday season increases stress and anxiety as compared to normal times.
This holiday season is also when many families will be coming together since the global pandemic. The mental investment it demands is never-ending. Cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning, entertaining, and preparing for the holidays, in a nutshell, can consume a lot of mental peace for an individual. Thus, it is important to be realistic and plan accordingly.
Here are a few ways in which you can take care of your mental health this holiday season and enjoy it at your pace:
1. Be kind to yourself
Holidays are a time to relax and rewind. But, they end up becoming the most hustled time of the year. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as you juggle between work and celebrations. The year-end deadlines, family obligations, parties, holiday shopping, all of it can easily take a toll on you. So, as you handle your everyday list, make sure you spend a few minutes with yourself too.
Take time to destress. Be kind to yourself. Dedicate some time doing what brings you joy. After all, it’s festive for you too.
2. Stick to your healthy habits
I know it’s easier said than done but someone has to say it. Yes, it’s fine to go easy on yourself and dig into those mouth-watering delicacies. But, overindulgence will only increase your stress and guilt. Thus, it is important that you don’t allow the holidays to be a free fall for your health.
Healthy snacking before holiday meals, enough sleep, regular physical activity even if it’s for a few minutes; all of these contribute significantly to maintaining your mental health. You can read more on how to spend your holidays without compromising your wellness here.
3. Be realistic & have a plan
Not everything will be the same as last year. Things might not go as you want. Instead of stressing over making these holidays perfect, just accept them as they come. As families grow and change, so do the traditions and rituals.
Be open to change and be realistic. Plan your holiday to-do list in advance. Set aside different days for different things so they don’t overlap with your other plans. Don’t keep things for the last minute. Line up help for these activities if you need it. Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once.
4. Take time for gratitude
A year can change a lot. The year-end holidays are a great time to pause for a while, analyze what all has happened, and be grateful for life. This is the best time to reflect back and take some time to write a gratitude list. Practicing feelings of gratitude massively improves mental health.
Recent times have been challenging for all of us. As we all came together to fight the deadly pandemic, it’s worthy to be grateful for making it through these tough times. You can also use our 360Wellness app to include gratitude in your daily routine.
5. Seek help for your mental health
As I said, all of us have been through hard times recently. Some of us are still grieving and recovering from the loss of our loved ones. Some are just consumed by our daily life finding it hard to maintain a work-life balance. Some are barely making ends meet.
Whatever is the reason in your case, if you need help seek it. You don’t have to fight it all alone. Take professional help. Instead of suppressing your emotions, be kind to yourself and share your feelings honestly. Find support in people you trust.
6. Avoid alcohol or drugs
Holidays make it inevitable to indulge in alcohol. But, contrary to popular belief, alcohol and drugs don’t reduce stress, they worsen it. If you are struggling with substance abuse by any chance, it’s important that you seek help.
Instead of pouring a drink or taking a pill to relieve stress, choose healthier options. These could include meditation, spending time with your loved ones, doing your favorite hobby, etc. It’s important to relax, unwind and protect your mental health without relying on alcohol or drugs.
7. Spend time in nature
The year-end will keep you surrounded by a lot of people. Be that friends, family, or work. You will find yourself occupied with a lot of things to do. But, sometimes break isn’t about resting in bed. Sometimes it is about reconnecting with yourself, away from everyone else.
Studies have concluded time and again that spending time in nature is beneficial for our mental health. So, if you find yourself wanting to break away from your family and friends during the holidays, consider taking a walk or simply stargazing. It will help you to relax.
Holidays can easily take a toll on your mental health. Don’t let them consume you completely. Take control of the holidays by doing things in moderation. Learn to recognize and understand patterns that trigger you during the holidays. It could be financial pressure, family expectations, or any other personal demand. It’s important to know your triggers so you can prevent them from hitting your nerves.
A little planning, some positivity, and a whole lot of holiday cheer can help you to enjoy the holidays without compromising your mental health.