Mental Health Strategies for the Holiday Season
Holidays got you feeling down? You’re not alone. The holiday season often brings a lot of anxiety, stress, depression, or overwhelm for many people. Combine that with the additional life stress and health concerns of living through a time of a global pandemic, and it can really feel like a lot to deal with.
I was curious to know how I could take steps to help manage my mental state and cope with my emotions during the holiday season. Here’s some great tips I found in my research; I decided to share these in the hopes that they will help you too.
Learning to identify our mental health triggers is important. Take some time to reflect on, and make a list of, what you love most about the holidays and what you don’t. This will help you to help identify and combat your triggers early on, or perhaps even prevent them from happening. With some planning and a positive outlook, being prepared can help you feel the peace and joy of the holiday season, and who knows you might even enjoy the holidays even more than you thought you could!
We each feel and experience our own set of factors regarding holiday stress, emotions, and overwhelm including unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and over-commitment to name a few. Expectations can lead towards increased stress by putting too much pressure on ourselves and others. To help manage your stress and overwhelm levels, you might want to try using one or some of these holiday coping strategies:
- Set a financial budget for holiday spending and stick to it.
- Create a list of tasks and resources and use creative delegation to accomplish them.
- Schedule tasks and events ahead of time, leaving enough time to get everything done with some breathing room.
- Learn to say no. You do not have attend every event you are invited to. Set boundaries on your own time and protect it.
- Schedule the most important activities as priorities, everything else can be decided later.
- Maintain your healthy habits by scheduling exercise, personal time, and great sleep hygiene.
- While waiting in lines, for appointments, in a drive thru, and so on, practice gratitude. See how many things you can list that you are grateful for before being waited on.
- Reach out for help if you feel lonely, isolated, or unable to cope. Seek out community events that you are comfortable at that offer the support and companionship you need.
- Avoid the over consumption of food, sweets, alcohol, tobacco, and other substances. Increasing alcohol intake can cause depression.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, it is important to visit Valeo’s Crisis Center located at 400 SW Oakley Avenue.
Valeo’s Crisis Center never closes, it is a walk-in emergency clinic, with no appointment necessary. Valeo’s 24-Hour Crisis Line is 785-234-3300.
READ: HOLIDAY’S HAPPEN: Here’s How to Cope
Valeo Behavioral Health Care
400 SW Oakley
Topeka, KS 66606
24 Hour Crisis Line
National Suicide Prevention Life Line
Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition
Family Service and Guidance Center (18 and under)
325 SW Frazier
Topeka, KS 66606
24 Hour Crisis Number
Healing after Loss to Suicide Group (HeALS)
Sandy Reams – Group Facilitator