The holidays can be both an exciting and stressful time of the year. Here’s how to take care of your mental health during the holidays. The more you understand how this time of year can affect your mental health, the more prepared you will be to manage the season.
In this article, you will discover how to take care of your mental health during the holidays.
Mental Health During the Holidays
Holidays for young adults can be an exciting time. The holidays provide an opportunity for establishing your own celebrations while finding ways to integrate traditional ones. They can also be a time of high stress, with time running short, social obligations to meet, and presents to buy.
In order to ensure that your mental health stays in top shape, it is important to monitor your stress levels over the holidays avoid things that cause stress in young adults as much as possible. The following are some tips toward making sure that your holidays are peaceful and joyous.
Here’s how to take care of your mental health during the holidays.
1. Make Self Care A Priority
Holidays are a time to reflect on what we are thankful for and to foster our connections with our fellow humankind. This can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a trigger for high stress. Too much socialization – or not enough – can throw our mental health off-balance.
Those who are surrounded by friends and family for the holidays may find that they don’t have enough time for themselves. It can be exhausting to catch up on everyone’s stories or to have to repeatedly share your own. If you find that your socialization tank is drained during interactions with friends and family, have a plan in place for slipping away to spend a quiet moment by yourself. Try excusing yourself from conversations to take a peaceful walk around the block, or try explaining that you need to take a quick nap to recharge.
On the other hand, those who don’t get together with loved ones over the holidays may be tempted to wallow in a mire of self-pity and loneliness. Listening to others talk about their holiday parties and travel plans can leave someone who spends those days at home, alone, with a sense of missing out. If you find yourself in this boat, do whatever it takes to make these days meaningful to you. This could mean that you just treat the holiday like any other day, or it could mean that you decide to cook a turkey feast for one. You may find relief from feeling lonely through engaging in holiday volunteer work. The important thing is that you do whatever it takes for you to stay positive and mentally well.
2. Have a Plan for Difficult Interactions
For many, the holiday gatherings mean that we will be visiting with friends and relatives that we don’t see on a regular basis. You may be expected to socialize with someone whom you consistently make it a point to avoid, or you may be anticipating the tension that arises for others when a particular person enters the room. Creating a plan for these inevitable occurrences is a great way to avoid having to spend mental energy toward reacting on the fly.
When dealing with difficult family members, it can be useful to employ the same tactics that we use in our workplace setting. We don’t get to choose either our family members, or our coworkers, and there are some useful techniques for navigating interactions at work that can be similarly applied in the home. It can take some practice, but persistence toward learning the art of when to speak up – and when to stay silent about disagreements – can pay off in dividends.
When deciding to make your own opinions about a matter known, try practicing the art of non-violent communication. This style of interaction expounds on the idea of active listening, and utilizes both empathy and thinking about desired outcomes before we respond. Using effective communication techniques can head off painful arguments and soothe wounded feelings. Your own, effective, communication skills can create a better holiday gathering for all involved.
There are also times where we find ourselves playing counselor for other family members. It is very common that someone in our family will be experiencing the holidays while going through a divorce, battling an illness, or struggling with finding work. When acting in a support role, it is important that your own mental and emotional boundaries are firmly in place. It is crucial to learn how to provide support without letting the drama of a loved one to become your own.
3. Avoid the Temptation to Overspend
Young adults are at risk of experiencing stress over money all year long. The average American is around 38 thousand dollars in debt, not including mortgages. With the aggressive marketing tactics at peak performance during the holidays, it can be tempting to overload our credit cards with gifts, travel expenses, and holiday meals. Don’t ever forget that those bills can – and likely will – still be around to haunt you for long after the new year.
A first step toward managing the temptation to overspend is to plan far in advance. With a bit of research and effort, you can find ways to cut down the expenses while still being able to enjoy yourself. Plane tickets can be purchased more cheaply if done within a certain time frame, and
gasoline apps can let you know where you will be saving money when filling up the tank. Always compare bigger ticket items for before purchasing, and resist impulse buys that businesses push us toward making. Above all else, create a budget for your holiday spending, and use it to guide you.
4. Don’t Sabotage Your Diet
The bingeing that takes place over the holidays is often what fuels our new year’s resolution. Diet, exercise, and losing weight make up the top three resolution spots for the average American. Staying on top of what we put into our bodies during the festivities will mean that we can save our resolutions for something more fun.
Lifestyle tips for staying within our diet goals over the holidays include working in the time for daily exercise, substituting some higher calorie foods with tasty alternatives, and drinking a lot of water. The more you are able to resist gorging on holiday treats, the less stress over your physical health you will be carrying into the new year.
Now that you know how to take care of your mental health during the holidays, you can move forward with confidence and enjoy the season.
This time of year can be particularly stressful for young adults. High levels of stress can negatively impact your mindset and your mental health over time, so it’s best to be prepared. Following the tips provided in this article will help you manage your mental health during the holidays and overcome obstacles that may have a negative impact.