The holidays can be chaotic and stressful, unsuitable for good mental health. However, realistic goals and expectations can help you maintain mental wellness during the holidays. First, identify your best support person to go to when you feel at your wit’s end. Then, reach out if you need it. With all the cooking, shopping, cleaning, and entertaining, you could feel like climbing under the covers and sleeping the days away.
While we are already in the throes of the holiday season, you can regroup to determine how to enjoy the holiday season. Mental wellness during the holidays comes down to taking back control. Many suffer from seasonal mood disorders, which can be challenging during the holidays. However, identifying triggers and planning to cope positively can change everything.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why people struggle with mental health issues during holidays, how to promote your own mental wellness using healthy habits, and more.
Why People Struggle with Depression During the Holidays
According to one study, 64% of people with mental illness report their conditions worsening during the holidays. Mental illness does not take a break for the joyous holiday season to take over and make everything loving and peaceful. Maintaining mental wellness during the holidays can be challenging. In addition, those in treatment who are aware of their limitations still struggle with keeping their sanity during these times. Depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can be more brutal to cope with than usual during the holidays if you are alone.
The state of our economy is another detriment to the season. People’s budgets are already tight before adding Christmas gifts; celebrating and traveling just add more stress and anxiety. Death and family dysfunction do not take a holiday break either. Mental wellness during the holiday season may take additional planning and extended boundaries.
10 Helpful Tips to Promote Mental Wellness during the Holidays
When the world is closing up around you, and you are feeling mentally disabled, stop everything. There is no one correct answer for everyone, but there are several tips to get back on the mental wellness bandwagon. In addition, you will enjoy the holidays much more if you prioritize your mental wellness during the holidays. Remember to regain control and make time for self-care.
- Be present: Be in the present moment and acknowledge your feelings. It is impossible to force yourself to be happy because it’s the holidays. If you are experiencing death or loss, it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. Take the time to feel it and process it.
- Stay busy: Loneliness and isolation are excruciating during holidays. Volunteering during the holidays is an excellent way to care for ourselves by helping others. Mental wellness during the holidays is a choice; take the time to acknowledge it.
- Be realistic: Although holiday perfection is all over television, social media, and everywhere you look, the holidays are rarely perfect for everyone, so be realistic. We do not live in an ideal world, and everything around us is subject to change. Traditions and rituals might change, and it’s difficult to accept. However, being realistic can allow for better mental wellness during the holidays.
- Stick to a budget: Stick to your budget, which may be difficult but possible. Nothing disturbs mental wellness during the holidays more than having to buy gifts and holiday foods and take part in all the extra celebrating. Great things come in small packages. Don’t overextend yourself because it will affect you in January. Put more thought into homemade verse, recipe cards, or other sentimental gifts that mean more than anything.
- Plan: Planning and learning to say no in one holiday season may be challenging, but it will positively affect your mental wellness during the holidays. So plan daily activities and stick to your schedule, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t finish it. When you have no more minutes to spare – say no. You can only accomplish so many things in one day.
- Set boundaries: The dynamics within a family can be intricate, and it’s important to recognize and accept them while realizing that you only have control over your part. If necessary, seek out methods to minimize your involvement and establish boundaries. This also means you should address any hurt feelings before a family dinner or holiday party. Processing past events in a public setting is unfair and unproductive for you and the other party involved.
- Eat well: During the holiday season, our eating habits can be tested with numerous dinners, parties, and tempting cookie trays. It’s essential to strive for a healthy diet throughout this time by prioritizing unprocessed foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruits, which are fundamental for maintaining a healthy body and mind. In addition, a well-balanced diet can assist in stabilizing your mood.
- Block out time for relaxing: Engaging in deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can effectively help you relax and regain your composure. Taking a break to refocus your thoughts can also provide long-lasting benefits beyond the present moment.
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can trigger symptoms of certain mental health disorders, such as mania in individuals with bipolar disorder.
- Avoid substances: Contrary to popular belief, substance abuse does not alleviate stress during holidays but can actually exacerbate it.
Maintaining Mental Wellness During the Holidays through Self-Care
Self-care is essential for mental wellness during the holidays. Sticking to your diet and exercise schedule and getting enough sleep are vital to beating depression and anxiety. Even more critical during stressful times, self-care can restore calm and clear your mind. Listen to music, read a chapter from a good book, and put your feet up for thirty minutes.
Excessive eating and drinking during the holidays can happen quickly and cause regret. Instead, keep your scheduled yoga class, walk, or get freshly squeezed juice on your way home. Being kind to yourself is a gift you give yourself. Modeling this essential positive coping mechanism is excellent for your family too.
Professional Help and Treatment for Mental Illness
You know yourself better than anyone does. However, if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or a seasonal mood disorder that seems worse, call your therapist. Also, make sure you are taking any prescription medications you may have. Drinking alcohol is never a good idea if you take prescriptions, so be careful at parties. You can do this; just listen to your gut.
It is especially vital to contact a mental health professional if your thoughts get too dark. Suicidal thoughts can creep into a depressed mind. Talk to your doctor if you cannot reach your mental health professional, and tell them you are concerned about your mental wellness during the holidays. Be truthful and straightforward in describing your symptoms.
Find Help for Mental Wellness During the Holidays in California
If you are experiencing difficult moments of depression or anxiety, Launch Centers has experience dealing with mental illness. We are available when you need us. Unfortunately, mental health disorders and substance abuse can escalate during the holiday season. Contact our center now to help maintain your mental wellness during the holidays.