Health Care Holidays Lifestyle Mental Health

Strategies for Mental Well-Being During the Holidays

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The holidays can be a time for love and laughter, connecting with friends and family, and celebrating. But this time of year can also be a time for significant stress. Maybe coping with family dynamics is a major stressor for you, or you get anxious when you feel short on time. Whatever causes stress during the holidays, there are ways to help manage it and prioritize your mental well-being.

5 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Since this is one of the busiest times of the year, we’re sharing five strategies to help you navigate seasonal stress:

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”

Many people feel guilty turning down an invitation. But during the holidays, invitations can come fast and furious. It’s OK to say “no” to certain events, particularly social situations that cause you stress. For example, maybe you always schedule a weekend shopping spree with friends, but devoting a full day to it this year is causing you too much of a headache. Communicate with your friends; see if you can reschedule for after the holidays when life has calmed down and you probably all have some gifts to exchange or return.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “Yes” Either

On the other hand, if you look forward to that yearly shopping outing with your friends because it provides a mental break during the busy holiday season, you should prioritize it. Doing something you enjoy during a stressful time is a way of promoting mental well-being. Your body, mind and spirit are all affected by stress. Reducing stress in one area of your life can help you find more balance and peace.

Get Outside

With the change of seasons, getting some fresh air and sunshine can help lift your mood — especially during a time of year when there are fewer daylight hours. Not only is spending time in nature a way to boost your mood but there are also numerous mental health benefits, including stress relief and improved mental energy. So, take a walk, jog or visit a nearby park or nature preserve. You may not realize it initially, but your body will thank you.

Give Back

Helping others can also improve your own physical and mental health. Giving can stimulate your brain’s reward center, unleashing a rush of feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin —sometimes called the “helper’s high.”

Set Expectations

Many people feel pressured during the holidays to accomplish numerous to-dos in a limited amount of time, creating stress and, in some cases, unrealistic expectations. That’s why, when possible, you should check in with yourself to decide what’s reasonable and what’s not so you can give yourself enough time to complete each task. Setting boundaries helps keep your expectations for yourself — and others’ expectations of you — in line, helping you keep stress at bay.

Here to Help with Whole Health

If you’re having difficulty managing stress and making time for your mental health this holiday season, our behavioral health services can help you find your center and reclaim your joy. We offer a strong network of caring specialists and a range of treatment options in a supportive environment.

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