We all feel stressed from time to time during the holiday season – the pressure to attend social events, give gifts, travel and more that can take a toll on one’s mental health. In fact, a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association found that nearly 25% of Americans report feeling extreme stress during the holidays. A study by National Alliance on Mental Illness, found almost 64% of people with mental illness report the holidays make their conditions worse.
If you feel anxious about this holiday season, that’s OK. It’s important that you adjust at your own pace and take care of your mental wellbeing along the way. Here are a few tips to help you take care of your mental health this holiday season:
- Reach out to loved ones. In times like this, living in a digital age can feel like a saving grace. Stay connected with your loved ones via text, social media, video or phone. Make yourself available for those you cannot see in person and offer your support to loved ones who may be struggling — a simple text or email can make a difference.
- Keep healthy habits. It’s important to keep healthy habits in place no matter your holiday plans. This may include going on a daily walk, getting a good night’s rest or staying hydrated. Taking care of your physical health can help stabilize your mood, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and improve long-term mental wellbeing.
- Make time for yourself. If at any point you feel overwhelmed or anxious, know that it’s perfectly fine to take a step back. It can be easy to put others before yourself during the holiday season but remember that how you’re feeling matters and healthy boundaries are necessary for your mental health. Practicing self-care can also help soothe feelings of anxiety or stress.
- Monitor your moods. The “holiday blues” are real, so it is important to stay in tune with how you’re feeling. Practicing mindfulness, journaling or rating how you feel every day can help you better understand your emotions. Pay attention to what makes you happy and incorporate it into your daily life. And remember: It’s OK to not be OK, and you’re not alone.
- Ask for help if you need it. If the holidays become more than you can handle, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Talk to a loved one, trusted peer or even a counselor about how you’re feeling. If you notice a family member or loved one having a difficult time, encourage them to seek help too.
Source: Mental Health First Aid
Behavioral Health Systems is the parent company of Safety First. BHS offers Mental Health and Substance Abuse benefits to employers along with Employee Assistance Programs.