Whether you are recuperating after a long holiday weekend with the family or preparing for the holidays ahead, the holiday season can be an overwhelming time for anyone. There is so much to do and so much pressure to have a good time. Trying to get into the holiday spirit and living up to the Hallmark movies can leave you feeling burnt out and do a number on your mental health. Especially if you have a history of mental illness or poor mental health, the holidays may make your symptoms worse.
How to Stay Mentally Healthy During the Holidays
Although this time of year can be stressful and filled with anxiety, surviving the holidays and enjoying your time is possible. At Vertava Health, we are sharing some tips for mental health during the holidays to help you make the most of this holiday season.
Do What Makes You Happy
The holidays come with a lot of pressure to have a good time and leave many people scrambling to pack all the traditional holiday events onto their calendar. Instead of getting caught up in doing things because you are expected to, only do what makes you happy. Just because you normally bake cookies for your neighbors, doesn’t mean you need to if it’s just going to hurt your mental health. When you only participate in activities that make you happy, you will find that you are a lot less stressed and able to enjoy yourself more.
Take Time for Yourself
Many people’s personal needs and mental health during the holidays will take a backseat. While it is easy to get caught up with your busy schedule, this can cause you to stretch yourself thin. One of the best ways to manage your mental health over the holidays is to make time for yourself. Put time aside to destress, collect yourself, and recharge. These small breaks can go a long way in boosting your mental health over the holiday season.
Stay in a Healthy Routine
The relationship between poor mental health and the holidays may partially be a result of unhealthy habits. During the holiday season, many people throw their clean eating out the window in favor of pumpkin pie or Christmas cookies as well as trade in their exercise schedule for a spot on the couch. Many people’s sleep schedules also get messed up because of their busy holiday schedules and time off work. These unhealthy habits can take their toll and lead to a variety of mental health troubles like depression and anxiety.1,2,3
Spend Time with the Right People
The holidays are about spending time with loved ones, but just because they are family, doesn’t mean they are good for your mental health. Instead of getting caught up with who you should be with, make sure you spend time with people who you want to be around. When you surround yourself with people who love and support you instead of toxic people you feel obliged to see, you will find it much easier to manage your mental health over the holidays.
Avoid Drugs & Alcohol
Some people are tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol when they are feeling depressed, lonely, or overwhelmed. While these substances can help you feel momentarily better, they tend to make mental health symptoms worse later. Also, if drugs or alcohol become a crutch every time you feel down, you could become dependent on them and may eventually need addiction treatment.
Trying to manage your mental health and the holidays on your own can be overwhelming. Instead of trying to go through it alone, get help. Talk to a trusted friend, join a support group, or seek mental health care if you need to. These people and resources can help you feel heard and may be able to teach you to better cope with your poor mental health during the holidays. The holidays can be a challenging time, but you do not need to go through them alone. Our online mental health services could be what you need to help you work through your mental health troubles over the holidays or any time of year. Contact us today to learn more.