How to Keep Your Mental Health in Check During the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time, with added pressures and expectations. You don’t have to let it get out of hand – learn how to keep your mental health in check this holiday season!

Quick facts: Mental Health Tips For Holidays

  • ✅ According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, holidays can be a stressful time for many people, especially those with mental illnesses or other health challenges (NAMI, 2020).
  • ✅ The American Psychological Association states that during the holidays it’s important to practice self-care by taking breaks, setting realistic expectations, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule (APA, 2020).
  • ✅ The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends staying connected to family and friends, limiting alcohol consumption, and focusing on positive thoughts (ADAA, 2020).
  • ✅ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people should plan ahead and prepare for holiday activities, as well as practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and exercise (CDC, 2020).
  • ✅ The National Institute of Mental Health states that it’s important to stay organized and create a list of tasks for the holidays so that everything can be accomplished in a timely manner (NIMH, 2020).

Tips for mental health during the holidays

The holidays can be a stressful and overwhelming time, no matter how much you enjoy the festivities. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed due to a jam-packed holiday schedule, or stressed out by financial worries, there are several tips for maintaining mental wellbeing during the holidays.

First and foremost, it’s important to practice self-care. Taking some time for yourself each day is essential—whether it’s an hour of yoga, taking a hot bath, or just spending time outside in nature. Additionally, make sure to get enough sleep and eat healthy meals.

Additionally, it’s important to remain mindful of your expectations for the holiday season—it is not necessary nor realistic to expect everything to be perfect all the time. Prioritize quality time with loved ones instead of stressing over perfection; allowing yourself to find joy in small moments with family and friends can help keep your spirits up during this festive season!

Set Aside Time for Yourself

As a leader, it can be easy to get caught up in work and forget to take care of yourself. That’s why it’s important to ensure that you’re taking the time out each day to take a break and focus on your mental health.

For instance, consider dedicating some time each day just for relaxation or self-care activities that help you recharge and clear your head. Setting aside even just 10-15 minutes in your day can help keep stress levels low and help maintain balance during the holiday season.

Additionally, remember to get enough sleep each night and get some physical activity if possible – both are key ingredients for managing stress levels and promoting positive mental health.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out if needed – allies such as family members, friends or a therapist may provide invaluable support in moments of distress.

Keep a Regular Sleep and Exercise Schedule

Maintaining a regular sleep and exercise schedule can be one of the best ways to ensure your mental health is in check during the holidays. When you’re trying to balance work hours, family obligations, and holiday events, it’s easy to let your health fall by the wayside. That’s why it’s important to prioritize healthier lifestyle habits like getting plenty of sleep and physical activity.

Sleep helps restore your body after a long day of work or family activities, while regular exercise helps keep stress levels down and boosts energy levels so you can maintain a positive attitude throughout the holiday season. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. You don’t need to hit the gym daily – simply taking a brisk walk or going for a bike ride are great ways to stay active during this busy season!

Set Boundaries

Set boundaries between work and relaxation to make sure that you don’t burn yourself out. This includes limiting leisure time to a certain number of hours, turning off notifications and declining any invitations which could potentially derail your plans. At the same time, remember to schedule regular activities or events with friends or family that can help you relax and relieve stress.

It is also important to set boundaries within yourself. Monitor your progress regularly to find out what works for you and what doesn’t in terms of studying techniques, diet, scheduling, and so on. Regularly reflect on the decisions you make throughout the semester by understanding what worked for you in the past and preparing for both failure and success. Lastly, try not to take things too seriously when it comes to studying and life balance; reward yourself often by doing something fun or interesting once in a while!

Accept Your Feelings

During the holidays it can be easy to get overwhelmed by emotions. One of the best ways to take care of your mental health during this time is to accept how you feel and not fight against your emotions. Instead, try to lean into them and explore why you’re feeling the way you are. It might be helpful to write down what you’re feeling and reflecting on possible causes. This can help make sense of your emotions and will help you become more aware of patterns in your thinking that could be unhelpful.

Additionally, it may be worth talking through these feelings with trusted friends or family members, or seeking out a mental health professional if need be.

Try Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can help maintain mental health during the hectic and often stressful holiday season. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation can decrease anxiety, stress, and worry by calming the mind and body.

  • Deep breathing involves focusing on deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth to slow our heart rate.
  • Guided imagery uses suggestion to create visual images that evoke a relaxed feeling in the body.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation requires tensing each muscle group for about five seconds before releasing for another five seconds to release muscular tension.

Additionally, listening to calming music or nature sounds is an effective way of relaxing our minds from stress or anxiety. Practicing mindfulness activities such as yoga or meditation are also beneficial for controlling emotions and helping us stay mindful throughout the holidays season. Taking breaks from any overwhelming or stressful situations can help maintain mental health during this time when we’re surrounded by so many people with different expectations and goals.

Keep Expectations Manageable

Every person and family approaches the holidays differently, but it’s important to remember to keep expectations manageable. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by large holiday gatherings, expensive gifts, and strict diets which may be difficult to maintain—especially for those with mental illnesses.

To help prevent a bipolar disorder episode, focus less on making sure everything is perfect or trying to match up to other people’s expectations or lifestyles. Instead, make sure you have the necessary time and resources to plan ahead and make your own decisions that work best for you. This flexibility can help create a more relaxed environment while still allowing everyone to connect with each other.

Additionally, having a support group of trusted individuals who understand your situation can be invaluable during the holidays.

Spend Time with Supportive People

When it comes to keeping your mental health in check during the holidays, make sure you are spending time with supportive people. It is important not to get too caught up in the stress and obligations of the holiday season, as a support system of family and friends can help to lift your spirits and ease some of your burden.

Take time for yourself to connect with family and friends who build you up—whether through virtual or physical gatherings—and enjoy their presence, laughter, and love. If you don’t have access to a support system, look for resources in your local community such as virtual or in-person support groups that may provide helpful guidance.

Additionally, mindfulness is a great tool that can help you stay present with those around you and appreciate any moments spent together all the more.

Seek Professional Help If You Need To

The holidays can be a challenging time for many people and it is important to take care of your mental health. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, seeking professional help can be a great way to ease these emotions.

A professional therapist or counselor can provide you with the support and guidance to work through difficult emotions and provide you with personalized tools that address your individual needs. In addition, they may offer insight into how to better manage stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health issues in general. Professional counselors are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to positively help you navigate the holidays and develop strategies for long-term wellness.

Seeking out support from someone who is professionally qualified will give you an opportunity to learn how to cope in difficult situations and potentially decrease holiday related mental health difficulties.

Mentally Prepare for the Holiday Season

When it comes to preparing mentally for the upcoming holiday season, it is important to take some time for yourself and recognize your needs. Start by taking a few moments each day to recognize the aspects of your life that you are thankful for and practice positive self-talk, reminding yourself of your strengths and capabilities.

Additionally, if possible, try to create a daily routine similar to what you would have during a typical work week; set aside time to exercise, meditate or practice yoga and make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

It is also important to be mindful of yourself as so many holiday-related activities can be overwhelming. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or anxious with all that is going on around the holidays, take a step back and pause. Recognize that it is ok to say no and prioritize what is best for your mental health first.

Lastly, make sure that during the holidays you are still taking care of yourself by:

  • Eating regular meals
  • Not overindulging in unnecessary activities or drinks
  • Setting realistic expectations for yourself

Don’t Create Unrealistic Expectations

It’s important for new moms to remember that nobody is perfect and life doesn’t always go as planned. Don’t try to live up to unrealistic expectations of the perfect Mother’s Day morning, brunch, or evening. Though it can feel like the stress of Mother’s Day creates a need to make everything go perfectly, this isn’t always realistic. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself by setting unrealistic expectations.

Take a step back and focus on what’s most important—connecting with your loved ones and taking care of yourself emotionally and physically. Set realistic goals for the day ahead, plan how you will take care of yourself throughout the day, give yourself permission to take a break if you need it, and practice self-care in whatever way feels best for you on that day.

Don’t Compare

Comparing yourself to others can be detrimental during the holidays. When you see friends and acquaintances around the holiday table, it’s easy to start comparing your accomplishments, lifestyle and possessions. But this bad habit can lead to feelings of low self-worth, jealousy and even depression.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on appreciating who you are and celebrating your unique abilities. If comparison does begin to take a toll on your mental health during the holidays, reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support or seek professional help.

Talking with a therapist or counselor can help identify unhelpful comparison patterns while giving sound advice on how to become more content with yourself and circumstances. It’s also important not be ashamed of seeking help – everyone struggles at times and it takes courage to ask for guidance.

Set a Realistic Budget

When it comes to senior mental health and the holidays, setting a realistic budget is key. Being mindful of your financial situation can help you stay in control of holiday spending and make sure you don’t overspend. By setting a budget and sticking to it, you’ll be less likely to experience money-related stress during the holiday season.

When creating your budget, include all necessary expenses such as gifts, cards, decorations, food and travel. You should also consider other unexpected costs like mailing packages or extra tips throughout the holiday season. Lastly, make sure you factor in leisure activities into your budget so that you can enjoy yourself during the holidays without breaking the bank. Sticking to a realistic budget will allow seniors to experience the joys of the holidays without experiencing financial stress or anxiety that could harm their mental health.

Stick To A Routine

It is important to maintain a routine when keeping your mental health in check during the holidays. This can help you stay organized and prevent any unexpected stress due to the holiday season. You may want to think of a daily routine or plan that works best for you that includes:

  • Waking up at regular times
  • Eating balanced meals
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Taking breaks throughout the day

Doing so will provide you with a structure that can help keep you on track despite the extra demands during the holidays. Additionally, if you are able to stick to your routine even during days off work or school, it can be more beneficial for your mental health as it helps create consistency and keeps your life from feeling too chaotic.

Check-In With Yourself

How to keep your mental health in check during the holidays? Checking in with yourself is a great place to start. Holidays can bring a lot of joy – but they can also come with a lot of stress. The best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to be mindful of your own needs. Make sure you’re taking time for yourself and nurturing your mental health and wellbeing.

This might mean taking a few minutes during the day to meditate, going for a walk, or even just taking some deep breaths.

It’s also important to create healthy boundaries, both physical and emotional. Don’t overextend yourself or overexert yourself just because it’s the holiday season. You don’t have to agree to every event or plan; it’s okay to say “no” if you need some time for yourself or would like some space from family gatherings.

Finally, practice self-compassion and forgive yourself when things don’t go as planned or when emotions run high during the holidays.

Focus only on what you can control

The holidays can be a time for excessive indulgences that can lead to mental health struggles. To keep your mental health in check, it’s important to focus only on what you can control. This includes the amount of alcohol and other drugs you intake, as well as the amount of time spent with others. Try to stick to activities that bring joy without putting your physical or mental well-being at risk.

Reducing or avoiding alcohol and other drugs altogether helps you maintain clarity and limits the damage they could potentially do to your mental health. Although these substances may provide temporary relief from anxiety, depression, and other struggles, they can also act as a depressant that prevents us from adequately addressing our long-term mental health issues. Furthermore, when confronted with social situations where it might be difficult to decline substances like alcohol or marijuana, practice saying no before the moment arrives so it is easier to decline if need be.

Don’t compare yourself to others

The holiday season can be a time of joy, but it can also be an overwhelming time for many people. One of the main contributors to stress and anxiety during this period is comparison. Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster: you will end up feeling worse about yourself, its likely you’ll never measure up to the person you’re comparing yourself too, and the pressure of competing with them will make matters even worse.

Instead, focus on personal growth. Use this time to really get in touch with your own wants, needs and dreams. Focus on things that bring joy and make you feel good about yourself. Keep track of your progress as you go along; it’s a great way to boost your confidence and keep a positive mindset!

Prioritise self-care

When the holiday season arrives, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with all of the festivities, social events, and travel. To make sure your mental health stays balanced during this time of year, take time each day to focus on self-care so you don’t burn out.

  • This might include taking a break from work or studying and instead doing something you find enjoyable, like going for a walk or reading a book.
  • It is also important to keep up with your normal activities like exercise or meditation, as these help to reduce stress and regulate mood.
  • Additionally, make sure to get enough rest and plan ahead when organizing events so that expectations are realistic; allowing yourself room for mistakes will help in avoiding anxiety or even depression.
  • Finally, take advantage of the season’s spirit of gratitude by reflecting on what you are thankful for each day – this will help boost your mood and motivation levels!

Set boundaries

When transitioning back to in-person learning, it is important to set boundaries. Encourage yourself and other students to follow healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and taking regular breaks from studying. Talk with teachers and peers to set realistic expectations for the amount of work that can be completed in a day or week. Create a plan that works for you to ensure that all assignments are completed on time without compromising your mental health.

It is also important to be aware of triggers that may lead to feelings of stress or anxiety, such as excessive workloads or difficult classes. If needed, talk with teachers about ways to reduce the workload or take a break from certain classes until you feel more comfortable returning back into the classroom setting. Taking care of your mental health during this transition is essential for a successful return back into an in-person learning environment.

Take a moment to reflect

Taking a moment to reflect is a great way for older adults to stay mentally healthy and balanced during the holiday season. Reflection can provide the needed time and space to appreciate what is most important in life. Reflection can provide clarity on how to move forward and bring greater contentment and peace.

During this reflective time, some individuals may want to practice gratitude and look back on the lessons they have learned or consider their life goals. Reflection can be done privately or with a supportive person nearby. It’s important that this reflective time be without electronic devices or outside distractions so it can be truly effective.

Make a list of things you are grateful for

Making a list of things you are grateful for is a great way to keep your mental health in check during the holidays. Writing down the things that you are thankful for can help to put life into perspective and remind us of what truly matters. Gratitude is an emotion that helps us appreciate and savor the best moments in our lives, no matter how small they may be.

In addition, it gives us hope, as we become more aware of why we should be thankful for the good things in our life. Keeping such a list will help redirect your thoughts away from stressors, worries, and concerns that can come with the season. Having a reminder of all life’s blessings serves as an extra boost of positivity when stress levels tend to be at their peak. It also serves as an annual tradition; a yearly reminder to focus on what really matters while reflecting on all our accomplishments over the past year.

Benefits of keeping a gratitude list include:

  • Redirecting thoughts away from stressors, worries and concerns.
  • Extra boost of positivity.
  • Yearly reminder to focus on what really matters.
  • Reflecting on accomplishments over the past year.

Self-Care is Always Important

Self-care is an uncommonly defined term that generally refers to activities that are undertaken to promote physical, mental, and emotional well being. Self-care refers to the time we give ourselves where we actively and consciously do something for our own health, happiness and well-being. It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive thing—it can be something as simple as taking a good book outside with you when you take the dog for a walk or setting aside fifteen minutes of “me time” each day. Everyone can benefit from self-care—but particularly during the holidays, when stress levels can run high.

Self-care is about paying attention to your own needs so that you have the energy and focus to attend to other people in your life. Taking care of yourself first will make you better able—and more willing—to take care of others in return. Simple self-care activities like:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Practicing yoga or meditation
  • Keeping a gratitude journal

can help keep us grounded during this busy time of year while also helping us prioritize our mental health needs.

Remember What Really Matters

The holidays often bring an increase in stress, so it’s important to take some time and remember what really matters. Whether that means spending more time with family, taking a break from work or just getting some fresh air, it’s important to take needed moments for yourself. The holiday season should be about enjoying the company of loved ones, not stressing out about completing tasks or errands.

If possible, set a schedule ahead of time that allows for breaks throughout the day so you can step away from holiday pressures and enjoy your family and friends while they are around. Additionally, don’t forget to set aside money in your budget for rest and relaxation after the holidays are over; it is just as important as buying gifts!

Learn to Accept Imperfection

The holidays are often a stressful time for many people. For those dealing with depression, the season can bring added pressures from family and friends, changes in routines, and heightened expectations to make the time special. This kind of demand can be especially difficult to manage if you’re already struggling with depression.

One way to cope is to learn how to accept imperfection. Everyone has different demands and expectations during the holiday season. Try to focus on what is within your control – take things one step at a time and don’t compare yourself to others who are seemingly enjoying themselves more than you are. Accept that not every moment needs to be perfect – instead, look for small moments of joy or contentment even when things don’t turn out the way you had hoped. Doing so can help you stay grounded in reality and less overwhelmed by the events of the season.

Shower Others With Kindness

Showering others with kindness in the holiday season can be a great way to reduce stress and mental health worries. Not only will being kind to others make them feel good, but it will also make you feel better as well. By caring for others and showing them compassion, you’re taking a break from your own worries and anxieties.

To start off, buy gifts for those care about or share some of your time with them. Small acts of kindness like these can go a long way in relieving anxiety and improving mental wellbeing during this time of year.

Furthermore, it’s not just the people closest to us that should be showered with kindness; we should extend our love and friendship to those who may not have anyone else celebrating with them during the holidays. For example, volunteering at a soup kitchen or local animal shelter is an excellent way to experience the joy of giving without feeling overwhelmed by the holidays.

Think of Your Resolutions

As the holidays approach, it’s natural to start thinking of New Year resolutions. While technology may make it tempting to start something new almost every day, focusing on a few New Year resolutions can help you stay grounded during the holiday season. Consider taking some time to reflect on your goals for the upcoming year and determine how you want to approach them.

Doing this will give you a road map for success and help keep your mental health in check during the holidays. Whether it’s exercising regularly, spending more quality time with family, or setting academic goals–taking the time to think about what changes you want to make in the next year can not only be beneficial for your mental health but also give you motivation and clear direction when starting off with your new year.

Set Aside Time for Self-Care

It’s important to make sure that during the holidays you set aside some time for self-care activities. This could be as simple as taking a walk outside, reading a book, engaging in a hobby, or catching up with friends. It’s also important to limit how much time you spend engaging in negative behaviors such as over-indulgence of food or alcohol.

Allowing yourself breaks throughout the day to take care of yourself can help regulate your mood and keep your mental health in check. Additionally, it can be helpful to have a plan for when things start feeling overwhelming – making sure you have access to resources or people can help support you if needed.

Give Yourself a Spending Limit

Giving yourself a spending limit on social media can be a helpful way to take care of your mental health during the holidays. This helps you control the time spent scrolling through posts and scrolling through ads that can be difficult to see if you don’t have limits in place. With a spending limit, you can carve out time for self-care activities such as reading or taking walks instead of getting lost in social media during your free time.

It can also be helpful to:

  • Set notifications ahead of time so that you don’t fall into the trap of constantly checking your phone after a notification goes off.
  • Allow yourself some distance between yourself and technology.

This is a great way to support your mental health during the holidays.

Carefully Watch Your Mood

The holidays can be a stressful time, so it’s important to monitor your mood carefully to ensure that your mental health is as strong as possible. This means taking the time to check in with yourself and recognize any feelings of stress, sadness, or anxiety you may be feeling. Keeping tabs on your moods can help you proactively manage them – if you notice a sudden change in the way you’re feeling, find ways to intentionally shift and address the source of these changes.

One way to stay mindful of your emotional well-being during this festive season is by developing an emotional health checklist. Make a list of activities or steps you can take when feeling overwhelmed or anxious such as taking a walk outside, reading a book, sipping tea, meditating, or listening to music. Having this list handy can make all the difference in improving and maintaining your mental health during the holidays.

Ask for Help

It’s important to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed or experience a mental health struggle. This can be difficult, as many of us associate seeking help with weakness or failure. However, it’s important to remember that asking for help and support is crucial in order to receive the assistance you need.

If you feel comfortable talking openly and honestly with your team members about your struggles, do so! Offering an open dialogue around mental health can create a more supportive work environment and ensure everyone on your team feels comfortable enough to seek help when they need it.

Additionally, if someone on your team is exhibiting signs of mental distress, take the time to talk with them and let them know that they are not alone and don’t have to suffer in silence. Showing empathy and understanding can go a long way when it comes to supporting those experiencing mental health struggles.

FAQs about: mental health tips for holidays

Q: What are some tips for managing stress during the holidays?

A: The holidays can be a stressful time for many people. Here are some tips for managing stress during the holidays:
1. Take breaks from stressful situations.
2. Make time for yourself and do something that you enjoy.
3. Reach out to family and friends for support.
4. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.
5. Set realistic expectations and manage your time wisely.

Q: What are some ways to cope with loneliness during the holidays?

A: The holidays can be an especially lonely time for some people. Here are some ways to cope with loneliness during the holidays:
1. Reach out to family and friends and let them know how you are feeling.
2. Spend time with people who make you feel good.
3. Get involved in activities that give you a sense of purpose.
4. Volunteer your time to help others in need.
5. Take time to reflect on what you are thankful for.

Q: How can I take care of my mental health during the holidays?

A: Taking care of your mental health during the holidays is important. Here are some tips for taking care of your mental health during the holidays:
1. Take time for yourself and do something that you enjoy.
2. Get plenty of rest and exercise.
3. Eat healthy and nourishing meals.
4. Limit your alcohol intake.
5. Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

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