How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Holidays


How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Holidays

December 15, 2023

The holidays are upon us. Whether it be embracing the colder weather, planning family get-togethers, office parties, and gift buying, this can become chaotic—and quickly.

Many people experience difficulty during this time of year as things can become hectic. Not only is the hustle and bustle amplified, but it can also take a toll on your mental health.

Here are the top tips on how to keep your mental health in check during the holidays:

Stay in Therapy

If you are in therapy, now is not the time to take a break. In fact, the holiday season is the perfect time to book an extra session or find a therapist if you do not have one.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness conducted a survey that revealed 64% of people who have mental illness experience worse symptoms during the holidays. Having a support system on standby is essential for those who need extra help.

Get Rid of Expectations

One of the most taxing parts of the holidays can be the expectation of what they are supposed to look and feel like. It is imperative to be realistic. Everything you see on TV, movies, and social media is an exaggerated depiction of the holidays.

Expectations are recipes for disappointment. Nothing and no one is perfect, and the holiday season doesn’t need to be either. Keep things in reality and remember that the holiday season is about being grateful.

Learn to Say NO

People pleasing is something many people are taught. A people pleaser is someone who feels a strong urge to please others, even at the expense of their true feelings and self. They may even go as far as changing their personality and wanting to fit in with other people. This can be devastating to mental health.

Around the holidays, you may receive an influx of invites. Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries on what you are comfortable with, and learn to say no. If it feels too much, it may just be too much. Nothing is worth risking your mental health by going somewhere or doing something that you don’t want to. You must put yourself and your needs first.

Be Kind To Yourself

If this is a hard time of year for you, there is no need to bludgeon yourself over it. Many people do not enjoy the holiday season whether it be family, friends, or past traumas. It is okay. Practice relaxation techniques and refocus on what truly matters.

Berating yourself can put you into a mental tailspin. Holidays can be stressful, so prioritize your self-care. If you notice yourself feeling extra agitated, triggered, or thinking of traumas, take a break. Give yourself the space to rest and be with yourself. You deserve the extra TLC.

Write a Gratitude List

Without getting swept up into gift buying and endless spending, write a gratitude list instead. The malls are overcrowded, the streets are clogged with congestion, and many people forget the true meaning of Christmas and the holidays.

Practicing gratitude has been proven to improve mental health and wellness. Take time to think about what you are grateful for. This will greatly increase your positive outlook for the season and in your life in general.

Practice Smart Shopping

Thousands of people blow out their pockets on gift shopping. This is a mistake! The point of the holiday season is to be together and share memories with one another—not who can buy the most expensive and superfluous gifts.

By practicing smart shopping, you can keep yourself out of debt. By frivolously spending money with no regard, you can actually injure your self-esteem and mental wellness by putting yourself in a bad financial situation. That is not what this season is about.

Bottom Line

Tis the season to be jolly! Therefore, focus on yourself and your needs, learning to say no, and not frivolously spending money on gifts. By removing expectations and cementing a support team, you can allow yourself to enjoy the holiday season instead of hurting your mental health.

By being kind to yourself and practicing gratitude, you can improve your mental health and your overall outlook on life. This season is about gratitude and togetherness, and you deserve to enjoy it!

Happy holidays!

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