· By PYM STORE
A Guide To Maintaining Mental Health During The Holidays
Manage Your Mental Health this Holiday Season
Presents, delicious food, laughs, and cups overflowing with eggnog and wine. The holidays are filled with so much joy, but they also tend to be filled with a lot of stress. Dealing with traveling, seeing family members we try to avoid during the rest of the year, having to confront conversations we’d rather not discuss, finding it hard to get alone time, or spending too much time alone and dealing with feelings of loneliness are just some of the possible holiday stressors.
A study from the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse. It’s not just those with mental illness that struggle this time of year with such a wide variety of mental health conditions. An American Psychological Association study found that 38% of people feel their stress increase around the holidays in the United States.
In an effort to maintain your mental health during the holiday season, we’ve come up with 5 tips you can implement to help reduce stress and feel your best, regardless of what’s going on this holiday season.
1. Set Boundaries:
Setting boundaries with people you love or are related to, is particularly hard. But regardless of how much we love our family and friends, there are times when lines are crossed or we’re treated in a way that makes it difficult to truly relax and enjoy the holidays.
Don’t avoid having these hard conversations out of fear of hurting someone's feelings. Instead, angle your boundaries as an important tool for prioritizing your own needs. Be kind, but steadfast in what you need to do to feel your best. If there are events you’ll need to sit out on or topics you’d rather not have to explain, it’s okay to say no.
2. Don’t Overextend Yourself:
There’s a lot of pressure to be “on” over the holidays. Events, and lots of them, tend to pop up this time of year, and with those come all sorts of responsibilities like cooking, hosting, and shopping for gifts. Know when it’s time for you to slow down. If you don’t have time to cook the turkey and make the mashed potatoes, just say so. It can be tempting to say yes to everything you’re asked to do, after all the holidays are about giving, but spreading yourself too thin can just lead to more stress.
The same goes for invites to social events. For many of us, the joy of holiday parties is muddied by social anxiety, and that’s okay! Honor the way you feel and show up however you can. If a big holiday party doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, kindly decline and let the host know you’d love to see them in a one-on-one setting if that suits you better. Being realistic about what you’re comfortable doing will make the holiday season all the more pleasant.
3. Prioritize Self Care:
Self-care looks different for everyone, as we all need different things to make us feel good. Regardless of what taking care of yourself means to you, planning some acts of self-care into your schedule can give you some rejuvenating downtime to look forward to. Maybe you want to set a routine of gratitude journaling each morning, taking a warm bath at night, or winding down with some Mood Chews. Maybe you decide to go for a long walk each day to clear your mind and boost endorphins. With so many activities during the holidays, it’s totally normal to need some time to recharge -- you deserve it.
4. Accept Self Love:
While self-care refers to the actions we take to feel good physically and mentally, self-love means treating ourselves with kindness and compassion. You’re likely going to experience a range of emotions, good and bad, over the holidays. Self-love challenges us to accept our feelings, whatever they may be, and show up as our truest selves. How can we do this? Recognize and accept that it’s okay to feel however you’re feeling, you’re only human. If you need to add some extra oomph to make it stick, look at yourself in the mirror and say it out loud. Positive self talk can help build a healthier relationship with your emotions.
5. Find Support In Community:
As we’ve said, many people struggle with their emotions over the holidays. Opening up to a loved one can be a great way to get some of your feelings off your chest and may make you feel better. And you never know, they may be feeling the same way.
Talking to a mental health professional is always a great option to help you navigate and manage these feelings. If you already have a therapist, that’s great! If you don’t know where to find one, you can reach out to your network and see if anyone you know has a recommendation or check out an online directory like Mental Health Match, PsychologyToday, and GoodTherapy, which are great starting points for finding professionals in your area.
If you’re feeling holiday stress, anxiety, and depression, you’re not alone.
We hope these tips help you navigate your holiday season and hopefully make things a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. Whatever you celebrate, happy holidays from PYM.
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Mental health is important. PYM is committed to helping people prioritize mental health this 2021 holiday season and beyond. You got this.