During the holidays, you gather with family and partake in treasured traditions. While this is meant to be a joyous time, it inevitably comes with some stress. Learning how to maintain your mental health during the holidays can help you enjoy the holidays more.
Know Your Triggers
Your first step should be determining what your triggers are. For example, shopping for gifts or even meeting with certain family members may cause you stress. Take a moment to think about past holidays and list out what has stressed you out or made you uncomfortable. This year, you can take steps to reduce this stress by either removing certain activities or preparing yourself to handle them. With gift shopping, for example, you can choose not to do gifts this year; or, you can find a solution that simplifies that gift buying process, like giving gifts that offer experiences or gifting money instead. Asking your friends and family what they’d like or having them pick out gifts can also make the process less stressful for you.
This may be a difficult step, but setting boundaries can do wonders for your mental health. These can be personal boundaries or they can be boundaries you set with other people. A common boundary to set is a boundary on your time. If people are asking you for too much, you can tell them that you also need your own time and that you’ll need to say no to a few things. If you know that you tend to take on more than you can handle, create a limit for yourself, and don’t allow yourself to do more. When you create healthy boundaries, there is less of a chance of you being overwhelmed by the holidays. You know what you can handle and you set limits to maintain that.
In addition to addressing the parts of the holiday season that cause stress, you also need to find ways to inject a little positivity. Gratitude is a great way to improve your mood and help you see the brighter side of things. When you practice gratitude frequently, you begin to see more and more that you can be grateful for. This helps you to be happier with your circumstances and you enjoy yourself more. Some ways to practice gratitude include keeping a gratitude journal, expressing gratitude to others, or simply savoring each moment while you’re in it.
Make Time For Yourself
Spending time with loved ones is sure to bring you joy. However, you also need to have some time to yourself. Alone time allows you to recharge and recenter yourself. Everyone needs some time to themselves, especially during the holidays. You can take some time to work on your hobbies, read a book, watch a movie, or even just take a nap. While still being considerate of those you are with, make sure you create time for you to be on your own. During your alone time, you can also evaluate your current mental state. Take some time to see how you’re feeling and how you’re handling things. If you’re feeling stressed, you can use your alone time to create a plan for dealing with it.
Look After Your Physical Health
Your mental health is heavily affected by your physical health. If you skip out on taking care of your physical health, you may see a decline in your mood and a rise in your stress levels. During the holidays, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Amidst all the delicious family meals, make sure you’re still getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When there’s time, get your body moving and fit in some exercise. Even though there are a lot of holiday activities, you also need to be getting plenty of sleep. Try to get 7-9 hours each night.
Your mental health fluctuates over time and the holidays may cause your mental health to temporarily decline. In fact, the holiday “blues” are actually quite common. This year, make a plan for yourself. Look at patterns from past years and determine how your mental health can be benefited this season.
Professional help can allow you to further improve your mental health. Click here to learn about how Premier Family Medical can be of help!