As much fun as the holiday season can be, this time of year often brings a level of stress that cancels out the good times. With so much emphasis on gift giving, entertaining, and family time, you may not be coping with the stress during the holidays in a way that focuses on your own health and well-being. Here are some ideas for maintaining your mental wellness and avoiding burnout over the holidays.
1. Have a Plan
With so much on your plate during the holidays, you should create and stick to a plan that you can manage. Make a list of the activities or gatherings you want to participate in, and be prepared to say no to anything extra when you have had enough. Work on a budget as well to keep your spending in check; no one wants the added stress of financial troubles.
2. Keep It Simple
Expectations are what make so many people stressed over this festive season, so maybe it is time to lower them. Take a “less is more” attitude. You can decide what that looks like: fewer gifts, less time out, smaller meals, or quieter gatherings with your closest friends and family. The key is to prioritize what matters most to you, and then cut out the extra obligations.
3. Maintain Healthy Habits
Maintaining your physical health can contribute to mental well-being. Try to develop or maintain healthy habits during the holiday season to help you cope with added stress. You should aim to exercise at least three times a week, eat a nutritious diet, and sleep for six to eight hours every night. A healthy body and mind can handle stress better.
4. Remember to H.A.L.T.
When you are feeling stressed or anxious, be sure to check in with yourself. Are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? These H.A.L.T. feelings can be physical or emotional, and addressing them can go a long way towards managing holiday stress. H.A.L.T. is a valuable self-care tool that can help you catch these negative feelings and address them early on, before they build up and lead to unhealthy coping behaviors.
5. Make Time for You
When everything gets to be too much, give yourself a time out. A walk, a nap, or a moment for meditation can be enough to take a break from the stress. Everyone needs some time alone, so don’t be afraid to make your “me” time a priority. It can help you refresh and recharge, which in turn may help you handle seasonal stressors better.
The holiday season is not always joyful for everyone. If you find yourself or someone you love is lonely, worried, or depressed during the holidays, consider professional counseling. A therapist can help you process these difficult emotions and come up with some effective coping skills to use year-round. Give us a call at (888) 686-7511 to find a counseling location near you.