Posted on November 05, 2019
Staying mentally healthy is especially important during the holidays. Learn how you can make space for your mental health during this time of year.
The holidays are often, “the most wonderful time of the year.” But no holiday season is without its stress and triggers. Balancing work, family, and a whole bunch of additional events and plans can cause anxiety.
Staying mentally healthy during the holidays can prove to be challenging, especially when it’s easy to let many of our normal coping mechanisms fall to the wayside when our regularly scheduled program is derailed. Knowing how to reduce holiday stress and being consistent with these practices will help make the holidays an enjoyable time.
We’ve put together some holiday mental health tips to help you stay happy and relaxed this holiday season. From exercise to using a therapy matching service, our tips below are sure to help your mental wellness.
Or, if you don’t know them, which is why you’re looking for holiday health tips, start by identifying situations that create stress and make you feel overwhelmed. Decide if these situations are necessary or worth your discomfort. If you think avoiding the situation is what’s best to stay mentally healthy during the holidays, trust your gut and don’t feel guilty. If you need to be in a stressful situation, prepare a plan ahead of time to problem-solve, focusing on the aspects that are both enjoyable and within your control.
Take your plans down a notch. It’s easy to get over-committed during the holidays. There are too many fun events and holiday parties to attend and family and friends to visit. Accept that you can’t, and shouldn’t say yes to everything. Saying yes to too many things will lead to failed holiday expectations. For clarity and ease during the season, organize your time around activities you actually want to do and will enjoy the most. Make sure to build downtime into your schedule to practice self-care and recover from these activities. It is okay to say no to invitations for your overall health and well-being!
Taking care of your physical health is maybe one of the most crucial means of staying mentally healthy during the holidays. Even if your regular exercise routine isn’t feasible between extra events and vacation, try to fit in daily walks or stretching. The business of the season can often come with feelings of anxiety and exercising can help you decompress and reduce stress. Keeping diet and alcohol consumption in moderation will help you from feeling lethargic, as will making sure to protect your sleep. Take advantage of the time off and take a nap, if needed.
At some point, the holiday season will feel challenging. Embrace the chaos, the burnt turkey, and your aunt’s snide comments. If you can’t beat them, at least have a laugh and enjoy the chaos.
‘Tis the season for giving, and that doesn’t mean just gifts. Volunteer your time and talents to non-profits doing admirable work. Visit a friend who’s been going through a rough patch. Get outside yourself and see the world from another angle by helping someone in need, and put your stressors in perspective.
The holidays may look like a wonderful time on the outside, but they can be difficult and painful if you don’t take care of your mental wellness. If you’re already in treatment, try to keep consistent sessions and medication routines. If you are not already, consider reaching out and talking to a mental health professional. The best gift you can give yourself is staying mentally healthy during the holidays. Our therapy matching service will help you handle holiday stress, post-holiday depression, and your overall mental health in your everyday life. Reach out to us and find a mental health professional suited for you today!
Alison LaSov, LMFT
Alison LaSov is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with experience treating clients struggling with anxiety and depression. She predominantly focuses on mental health intervention for children and adolescents, particularly those who are in crisis. She has worked within the Los Angeles education system treating students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), as well as supervised a non-profit Teen Crisis Hotline out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Alison earned her B.A. from UCLA and M.A. from Pepperdine University. She is a native to Los Angeles and co-founder at Advekit.