While for many people, holidays are filled with joyous traditions, the smell of good food and treats and the memories of family being close together once again, this is not the case for everyone and in every holiday situation. For far too many of us the holidays bring about the anxiety of if Uncle Jack will again drink far too much at the family holiday parties and begin swearing at everyone. Or when nosey Aunt Jan puts herself as the expert of every situation and always wonders why you parent your kids in such a way because she knows best. Or the loneliness that some have because there is no home or place to go for the holidays. Or perhaps you choose not to be with certain family members because it is better for your mental health. Or perhaps you have recently lost someone and this is your first holiday without them. Whatever your reason perhaps this is the season for you, the first of many seasons for you to focus on your mental health and do things that bring you joy this holiday season. Below is a list of a few things that you can do to survive the holiday blues.
Make plans to do something fun just for you– Whatever things bring you joy, make a plan to go do that. Get a pedicure, go eat dinner at that really swanky new restaurant, or make flight plans and go somewhere you have never been.
Add in some movement into your holiday season- Not only does movement release endorphins which interact with receptors in the brain to reduce pain, It can also trigger positive feelings that are similar to receiving morphine. Regular movement has been linked to reducing stress, boasting self-esteem, lowering blood pressure, strengthening bones, improving sleep, and increasing energy. Make time this holiday season to get movement in some way.
Mindfulness routine- A mindful routine can include daily breathing, walking, and developing gratitude. This might seem like a unique way to cope during the holidays, but it can help with intentionality which can help you develop perspective, and sometimes that is all we need during the holidays.
Make a plan– Make a plan beforehand about how you want to manage and combat certain stressful obligations. Remember it is okay to say no sometimes, if being with Uncle Jack on Christmas day is stressful but Christmas eve festivities are usually okay let family know that you will only be able to make it for a certain part of Christmas or for a certain amount of time. If you are visiting other people, it is okay to need some time away from them. Prioritize what types of parties you want to attend. Hate going to the store during the holidays? Plan to shop online instead. Remember, just because we CAN meet in person, it does not mean that we have to meet in person. Zoom gatherings are still in!