Frantic shopping, family dinners with awkward conversations, excessive traveling. These are a few of our…least favorite things?
Let’s face it–sometimes the holiday season isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. All the hustle and bustle, grandiose expectations and financial demands can really take a toll on our mental health. That being said, the holiday season shouldn’t deplete your emotional and mental well being. Believe it or not, there are still plenty of ways to have a great time and stay sane during the holidays.
Stressors During the Holidays
If you’re dreading time with family, finding gifts for everyone on your list, or worrying about the decadent meals and maintaining healthy habits, you’re not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, 45% of Americans would prefer to skip the holiday season entirely!
So what causes holiday stress? For most people, it’s usually our perceived idea of others’ expectations. By trying to keep up with what we think people expect of us, we tend to make conditions worse for ourselves. We think people expect the perfect gift from us, we think we have to cozy up to that cousin we really don’t like, we think if we don’t contribute 110% to every gathering, we’ll disappoint others.
If your anxiety is going through the roof at the very thought of festivities, don’t fret. Here are a few tips to preserve your mental health.
Tips to Stay Balanced During the Holiday Season
1. Keep some sort of routine.
Maintaining parts of your daily routine during this stressful time can help you feel more in control and grounded. Go on your daily walk, make sure you get that cup of tea, or take just 20 minutes to yourself. Taking care of your physical health will work wonders in lowering anxiety, depression and stress.
2. Create boundaries.
While the holiday season is a wonderful time for family gatherings, it can also create awkward or unwanted encounters. Remind yourself that you don’t need to put yourself in situations where you feel uncomfortable. If being with family is making you feel low, gather with friends instead, or create your very own holiday traditions. The holidays are for you too!
3. Embrace difficult emotions.
It’s ok if you don’t feel happy during the holidays. It can sometimes be overbearing to be expected to be “merry.” Whatever you’re feeling, they are valid feelings. It’s ok to have the holiday blues, want to spend time alone or take a step away from some festivities. Valued family members and friends will embrace you whatever your mood.
4. Know it’s OK to ask for help.
The festive season can be a difficult time for many of us. If you’re feeling overwhelmingly depressed, anxious or unbalanced, we are here for you. Reach out to family, friends, or a mental health professional.
Holiday anxiety is real, and it’s important that we remind ourselves that many of us are feeling the same thing. This year, take a step back. Remember the things that actually bring you joy, regardless of the season. Is it seeing your favorite people? Spending some quiet time alone? Creating new memories with your family? Whatever it is, make space for what keeps you mentally healthy. And if you ever need some help maintaining your joy, you know who to call.
Happy holidays from Traini Counseling Group!