Although we like to think of the holidays as a time of joy and cheer, the holiday season can be a time of stress and anxiety. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 64% of people will mental illness found that the holidays make their condition worse. Therefore, it is critical to enter the holiday season with some mental health strategies in place to keep your perspective positive.
Take Breaks for “You Time”
It’s easy to overload your schedule with family commitments, holiday parties, and other festive events. However, it is also easy to get overwhelmed with all that social exposure. Plus, holiday events like family dinners may not always be peaceful affairs. That’s why you’ll want to leave some room for yourself with quiet time to enjoy your own hobbies or simply relax. Even at holiday events, it’s okay to take a break in a quiet spot outside for a moment to yourself.
Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
While it might feel like the easy solution to holiday stress is to reach for a glass of wine or a cocktail, drinking in response to stress may only worsen the problem. You may feel less in control of stressful situations, and it’s much easier to let unkind words slip while drinking, leading to intense arguments at the family dinner table. Instead of relying on alcohol, take some time to reflect on what triggers your stress the most and how to respond in a more productive way, such as by leaving the room or redirecting the conversation.
Along with avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, it’s important to nourish your body (and mind) with healthy, nutritious foods. While sweets and other indulgences are everywhere around the holidays, it’s still important to keep your nutrition in mind.
Use Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness is the practice of living in the moment and choosing how to interact with certain situations. Showing gratitude, either verbally or by writing in a journal, is a mindfulness technique that can shift your perspective to a more positive place. For example, while you may find your family’s political views questionable, you might instead focus on the fact that you get to spend time with the people you love and enjoy some of your favorite traditions together.
Managing your mental health isn’t something you have to do alone. The holiday season may be the perfect opportunity to explore the benefits of talk therapy, which can help you discover even more strategies for managing stress and boosting positivity in your life. MeMD can help you connect with a therapist in as little as 72 hours for convenient, online appointments.