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How to Manage Your Mental Health During the Holiday Season


Holidays, Christmas, Candy Cane, Mental Health Holidays,

While the holidays are typically considered a season of joy, filled with merriment

and happy gatherings, they can be a real struggle for some people. They are

especially challenging for those with a diagnosed mental health condition.


A study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) showed that

approximately 24% of people battling a mental illness feel that the holidays make

their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.” Another study by All

Points North (APN) Lodge reported that 67% of the respondents suffering from

depression find that their depression increases during the holidays.


The festivities can amplify our stress and make maintaining a routine challenging.


While the movies would have us believe that this is the most wonderful time of

the year, it's anything but for many people.

From navigating complex family dynamics to managing finances, there are a

multitude of reasons why we see a spike in anxiety and stress during the holidays.


So, if you don’t feel jolly and upbeat during this holiday season, remember that

you’re not alone.

Holidays, Christmas, Sparklers, Mom and Daughter

To help you cope with the holiday blues, we've put together some tips on how to

take care of your mental health this festive season:


Get plenty of sleep


When the pressures begin to mount, the first thing that ebbs away is our

full night’s sleep. Sleep has a direct impact on our mental health. Research

shows that when the quality of your sleep degrades, your symptoms of

depression and anxiety worsen. Set a goal to get between 7-8 hours of

sleep every night and maintain a consistent bedtime routine. Going to bed at

the same time every night will help you establish healthy sleep habits and

result in higher levels of energy and productivity during the day.


Prioritize self-care


It’s easy to neglect self-care when you’re trying to check off items on your

never-ending to-do list. This is why scheduling time for self-care during the

holiday season is even more important. Make some time to indulge in

activities that feel calming and rejuvenating. It can be anything from taking a

short walk in nature to drinking hot chocolate.


When things get overwhelming, engage in deep breathing for 5 minutes to

ground yourself. Little acts of self-care throughout the day go a long way in

helping protect your mental health.


Cut back on social media


It’s easy to get sucked into mindless scrolling when you have extra time on

your hands and don’t feel like doing anything else. Seeing people post

about enjoying their holidays and celebrating can also lead you to compare

your behind-the-scenes with someone else’s highlight reel. This might be a

good time to take a break from social media and spend time on your

hobbies.

Instead of scrolling through social media when you are bored, you can

choose to go out with your loved ones or call up a friend.


Set a budget


Holidays can create financial stress and anxiety when you’re trying to pick

the right gifts for everyone. Creating a budget and sticking to it can bring

down the stress significantly. Remember, it’s not the price but the thought

behind the gift that matters. If you’re concerned about the money, you can

look into DIY gifts like a knitted scarf or homemade cookies. A handmade

gift feels even more special to the receiver because of the time and effort it

takes.


Look into volunteering opportunities


Volunteering during the holidays, meeting new people, and creating a

positive difference in the world might be just what you need to stave off the

holiday blues. Look up organizations in your area that you can support,

consider tutoring and mentoring kids, or simply offer your help to anyone

who might need it—a friend, colleague, or family member.


It’s not easy to tend to your mental health when it feels like everyone is

experiencing the magic of holidays. While they certainly can be magical for some,

it’s completely normal to not feel cheerful during this time.

Just remember to be kind toward yourself, practice self-care, and reach out to

loved ones when you’re feeling lonely.

Don’t put your well-being on the back burner this holiday season, try to take small

actions every day to manage your mental health and focus on things that bring

you joy.


If you’re finding it difficult to deal with the pressure of the holidays or manage

your mental health during this festive season, you might want to consider talking

to a therapist who can offer you support and help you come up with an action plan

for the holidays.

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