How to Cope with Holiday Stress and Maintain Mental Well-Being
For many people holidays are difficult time. Stress from family dynamics, financial concerns, and the pressure of creating lasting memories can all contribute to holiday blues.
Fortunately, there are 10 strategies that you can use to help cope with this holiday stress and mental health.
1. Establish Boundaries:
It’s important to protect yourself from being overwhelmed by setting boundaries around how much you will do during the holidays. Decide in advance how much money you are willing to spend, how much time you want to dedicate to holiday events, and who you are comfortable spending time with. Doing so can help prevent feelings of guilt or obligation if you find yourself saying “no” more often than not.
2. Practice Self-Care:
The holidays can be incredibly demanding, both physically and emotionally. Make sure to take some time for yourself during this stressful period by doing something you enjoy, such as reading a book or taking a relaxing bath. Additionally, use the extra free time you may have to focus on healthy habits such as exercise or getting enough sleep.
3. Set Realistic Expectations:
It’s easy to get swept up in the idea of spending the “perfect” holiday with family and friends but it’s important to manage your expectations so that you don’t become disappointed when things don’t go as planned. Try not to expect too much from yourself or others and be willing to compromise when necessary.
4. Make Time for Loved Ones:
The holidays are a great time to reconnect with family and friends who live far away or whom you don’t get to see very often. Schedule a time to catch up with them either in person or via Skype/FaceTime if possible, as this can help alleviate some of the stress associated with the holiday season.
5. Reach Out For Help:
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the demands of the holidays, reach out for help from a trusted friend, mentor, or mental health professional if necessary. Talking through your feelings can help put things into perspective and give you the support you need during this stressful time.
6. Take Breaks from Technology:
It can be tempting to constantly check your phone or social media during the holidays but it’s important to take a break from technology and give yourself a chance to unplug and relax. Put away your devices for an hour or two each day and focus on activities that don’t involve screens, such as reading or taking a walk.
7. Simplify Your Plans:
Don’t feel like you have to create elaborate plans in order to have an enjoyable holiday season. Instead of trying to fit in too much at once, focus on simple activities that make you happy such as baking cookies with your family or watching classic holiday movies together.
8. Avoid Negative Self-Talk:
It’s easy to get caught up in our own negative thoughts during the holidays, but it’s important to recognize when you are doing this and take steps to reframe your thinking. Remind yourself of all the good things that have happened throughout the year and focus on what brings joy rather than dwelling on what has gone wrong.
9. Make Time for Relaxation:
The hustle and bustle of holiday activities can leave us feeling exhausted, so it’s important to make time for relaxation. Take a break from all the planning by deliberately scheduling some downtime into your day or weekend, such as going for a walk or practicing meditation.
10. Reassess Your Goals:
The holidays can be a great time to take stock of the year and reassess your goals for the future. Take some time to reflect on what has worked in the past and make any adjustments that you feel are necessary for the coming year. Doing so will help set you up for success in 2021.
The holidays are often a time of stress and overwhelm, but with the right strategies in place, you can maintain your mental well-being. Taking care of yourself by establishing boundaries, practicing self-care, setting realistic expectations, making time for loved ones, and reaching out for help when needed are all important steps to take during this trying season. With the proper mindset and support system in place, you can make it through the holidays feeling balanced and content.