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Ways to Boost Mental Health for the Holidays

Holidays are fun and the feelings they evoke are magical – for some. While some people will effortlessly maneuver through the holiday season without a sweat, others face stress, anxiety, and depression. Seemingly straightforward and celebratory occasions can become the source of a trigger. 

Expectations soar high, whether it’s to organize the perfect get-together for traditions or work on a tight budget.  What you need is to find mindful ways of preserving your mental health for the holidays. A recent study by NAMI indicates that 64% of people with mental illness reported worsening conditions during the holiday season.

First things first, and that is you. To pass through the celebrations without a hitch, it’s important to protect your own emotional, psychological, physical, and social well-being. Here are some mental health tips for the holidays, which have proven to work according to professionals.

Limit your expectations

The urge of organizing a “perfect holiday” for you and your family can make you begin doubting your ability. In the end, this can cause anxiety and unnecessary stress that makes the experience even more taxing. Much of this can stem from comparing your own plans to what others are posting on social media, so consider carving out “no screen time” while planning and celebrating at your event. You never know, the most memorable experience could be the one where simplicity was involved. Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Are holidays part of your traditions? If so, recognize when to say no and set boundaries.
  • How much social media pressure can you handle? Don’t weigh your emotional well-being compared to people on social handles.
  • What do you enjoy most about the festivities? Prioritize your holiday plans based on what excites you most.

Show some love

Person in grey sweater holding a gift wrapped box with red ribbon

You can’t control other people’s judgment, but you have control over how you treat them. Showing some love to those around you can help you take care of your mental health for the holidays. Reach out to friends and family or spend time with them. What are you trying to portray through those gifts? If you don’t have the means of buying them something nice you can always just tell them how you feel. Avoid judging others and instead, participate in supportive activities that will make them have great memories. Interacting with others during this time of the year can also help you avoid solitude.

Practice self-care

Self care is one of the best mental health tips for the holidays one ought to take into account even before anything else. Do you spend enough time with yourself? As good as spending time with friends and family is good for you; make time for yourself as well. It could be hiking, taking a walk, going for a body massage, and staying hydrated. Pampering and taking care of yourself reduces some of the stress that comes about during the holidays. Doing special things for yourself rejuvenates your mood and your overall mental wellness.

Celebrate your wins

Keep track of a list of things you are grateful for and the small and big wins. The pressure of handling preparations during this time of the year can make you forget the better times. Perhaps you are in good shape now after continuous physical exercises or you are simply grateful to get back to your bed each day. Being grateful for even the smallest wins is a great way of boosting your mental health for the holidays.

Reach out for help

Sometimes even after doing all the mentioned tips, you can still find yourself feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and depressed. The best solution, in this case, is to ask for help. You can reach out to a friend or family you trust, or a certified mental health expert.

Anna Marchenko

Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal therapist at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy. She holds a bachelor's degree from NYU and dual masters degrees from Columbia University. Marchenko’s hypnosis certification is from the only hypnosis program in Florida that has been certified by the state’s Board of Education. She helps her clients by utilizing an integrative approach to psychotherapy, tailored to each individual’s mental health journey, drawing from hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP therapy, EMDR, and more.

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