Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of joy this time of year. I am a sucker for holiday lights, gingerbread house making, and singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs. Hidden among all the merry-making, however, is anxiety and stress. In fact, the holidays can take a major toll on our mental health. Many people feel anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed this time of year. The never-ending shopping, obligatory events, dysfunctional family, and nostalgic memories can bring up all kinds of emotions. So let’s take time to take care of ourselves first.
Here are my 8 mental wellness tips for the holidays.
Create boundaries with family.
You may have a family member (or two or three) who pushes boundaries and guilt trips. This person feels like they have a right to judge you and your life choices. It is vitally important to set boundaries with this person and communicate them clearly. If a boundary is crossed there will be consequences.
If you are staying with family consider only staying one night. Get a hotel or bounce around between family and friends the other nights. If family is staying with you, only agree to an amount of time that you are comfortable with. You do not owe them anything just because they are family.
Manage your time.
The holidays can be very exhausting with all the dinners, brunches, and other events. Be realistic with your schedule and only attend what you can. Do not give into guilt trips or talks of family obligations. You are in charge of your schedule.
Stick to your budget.
You are buying gifts, plane tickets, food, drinks, and the list goes on and on. Be sure to only pay with cash or debit so you don’t go into the new year with debt. Also, consider hosting a Secret Santa between friend or family groups. This way you are only buying gifts for a few people.
Be open and honest about your feelings.
The holidays can remind us of what we have lost. Maybe a family member has passed away or you come from a divorced family. Whatever the struggle may be, it is very normal to feel sad, lonely, and depressed during this time. The best thing you can do is talk about your feelings with your loved ones. Do not feel guilty about opening up during the holidays. This is what your family and friends are there for.
Keep a workout routine.
It is more important than ever to keep exercising during the holidays. This is vital for your emotional and physical health. If you’re going out of town to visit family, plan to attend a workout class together or go for a family run. This is a great way to hold each other accountable and spend time together.
This is easier said than done, but do your best not to overeat or overdrink. Both indulgences can affect your mental health, especially when you add on all the other emotions you’re feeling this time of year.
Find some alone time.
Make sure to take time to yourself in between all the obligations. Take a solo walk in the snow or grab a cup of coffee at the local cafe. Give yourself time to reset from the hustle and bustle.
Take time to reflect
The holidays are a great time to reflect on the past year. What did you accomplish? How did you grow? What lessons did you learn? What can you carry into the new year and what can you leave behind? Be proud of yourself!
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