As you all know the holiday season is upon us.
The debate about whether you can start listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving is in full force (I’m team Christmas music by the way!) and Black Friday deals are swarming our inbox.
The holidays can be a time of joy, family and festivities. However, it can also be a time of sadness, loneliness and depression. I have experienced holidays on both end of the spectrum, so I wanted to put together a short resource with some tips to fight those negative emotions and help everyone stay mentally healthy these holidays.
10 Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy During the Holidays
1. Set reasonable expectations and boundaries. Many times holidays can be disappointing because they didn’t match our expectation or we overextended ourselves versus taking time to rest. Enjoy the holidays as they are and be ok saying “no” to some things.
2. Take care of yourself. Make sure to stick to a healthy routine. Get sleep, eat a balanced diet (as much as you can at least with all that deliciousness around you!), and exercise.
3. Make a budget and stick to it. Holiday stress often can be associated with money. Plan how much you can afford with gifts and travel, then make sure to stick to it! A budget is only helpful when it’s an applied budget!
4. Plan ahead. One of the most stressful aspects about the holidays can be last minute gifts or having to run to the store for the thing you forgot to pick up last week. So plan ahead and enjoy being more relaxed!
5. Everything in moderation. The goal of a healthy holiday experience is not elimination, but moderation. Sure, have a couple helpings of your grandmother’s delicious pecan pie or that spiked eggnog is fine, but overindulgence tends to exacerbate negative emotion. Everything in moderation.
6. Fight against loneliness & isolation. Loneliness and isolation are real struggles during the holidays. Reach out to friends, get plugged in at church, join a group fitness class, or find a social club that interests you.
7. Volunteer. Numerous studies have shown that volunteerism has massive benefits for your mental health. Serve at a soup kitchen, deliver food to the elderly or volunteer at your local children’s hospital.
8. Go see a mental health care professional. Sometimes the holidays can be incredibly tough, especially if we’ve lost loved ones. Seek out a mental health care professional that can help you grieve and process appropriately.
9. Get yourself to church. Faithful attendance at a worship service has been tied with positive overall mental health. A vibrant church can help you find purpose, encouragement and support.
10. Cultivate Thankfulness. Writing in a gratitude journal or reflecting on areas of thankfulness with others can help battle negative emotions. Comparison is the thief of joy, but gratitude is the manufacturer of it.