Whether you participate in any holiday or not, the impact of all the celebrations, the pressure to give gifts and the bombardment of holiday ads can be overwhelming and affect your mental health during the holiday season. For some people, all of the activity can trigger feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and depression.
If you have had a hard year as an employee, the holidays might just highlight how difficult the year has been for you.
How do you take care of your mental health during the holiday season, and protect yourself in a time that can be filled with overwhelm?
In this post, we will go over six things you can do to protect your mental health during the holidays.
Protect Your Mental Health During The Holiday Season
Talk to a mental health professional
If your stomach was hurting really badly and no home remedy was helping, you would go to the emergency room. In the same way, if you are struggling mentally during this season, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to talk to a mental health professional who can help you sort it out.
Don’t try to “tough it out” or “be strong” just because it’s the holidays. If you would go to the emergency room for a physical ailment, your mind deserves to receive emergency care as well.
Unplug from social media
Scrolling through your social media feed is something you will want to avoid if you are looking to protect your mental health during this season. While social media has its’ good aspects, there are a number of studies that have shown a correlation between the use of social media and depression.
As it turns out, when people are surveyed, they report feeling more underwhelmed with their own lives when they compare it with what they see from their friends on social media. So if you want to protect your mental health this season, you might need to keep social media out of your routine.
Food is abundant during the holidays. Office parties and family gatherings make it almost impossible to avoid indulging in cookies, chocolates, and cakes. The guilt of eating more can also trigger mental health issues. If this is the case for you, you might want to create a plan to exercise more and eat no more than you need during this season.
The American Heart Association recommends that you need to perform some time of physical activity for at least 30 minutes, five times a week to stay heart healthy. A short walk around the neighborhood or finally putting your gym membership to use may be in the books.
Beyond torching food calories, another thing exercise does is to release endorphins that interact with your brain cells to give you a sense of well-being.
When you were growing up, you probably heard that you could discover new worlds by reading books. If you like to read, this may be a great time to get lost in a book.
It’s okay to say no to things you don’t want to do. Setting boundaries and letting people know that you’re not willing to violate those boundaries is an important key to protecting your mental health.
You don’t have to be at every party or gathering. You don’t have to buy gifts for everyone if you just don’t have the money. Say no if you know that doing something will affect your mental health negatively.
Rely on your support system
Whatever your support system is, this is the time to let them know what you’re going through. It is not uncommon for people to keep how they are feeling from friends and family members until it is too late.
Talk to friends and family and share your feelings with them. They might not always understand everything, but it does help to talk to someone about what is going on. On the flip side, if you are that friend or family member that someone confides in, you can help them by listening and pointing them to the right resources.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, in 2014, there were 13 suicides per 100,000 people. That number is up 24% from suicide rates in 1999. One of the things you commonly hear loved one’s say after a person has killed himself/herself is “We never knew they were going through anything.”
The holidays with all its’ activity can be overwhelming for a lot of people and trigger feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. Any or a combination of the solutions posted above will help if you’re struggling with these feelings this season.
If you found this post useful, share it with someone else – it could save their life.