Taking care of your mental health is a year-round responsibility. Unfortunately, certain times of year make this task harder than others. The holidays can be particularly troublesome, not helped by the fact that winter is generally the worst season for mental health. You don’t have to spend the festive season suffering in silence, though, when there are ways to look after yourself.
Get off social media
Social media is already a minefield for your mental wellbeing. Seeing everyone else seemingly enjoying their lives can make you feel miserable about your own situation. It’s even worse over the holidays when people will be bragging about the gifts they received and how much fun they’re having. If you know this is going to hit you hard, then stay away from social media. Find ways to keep busy and steer clear for a few days so that you’re not bombarded with posts that will drag your mood down.
Try to plan in advance
For all the joy the festivities bring, they’re never short of stress either. Thankfully, you can avoid some of these by preparing well in advance. By planning what you’re going to do over the holidays and buying everything weeks – maybe even months – beforehand, you avoid any last-minute worries. You won’t eliminate holiday stress completely, but you’ll make things easier on yourself. Just don’t hold all your expectations on everything going perfectly to plan. Something always goes wrong during the holidays, and forgetting that could come back to bite you when things go awry.
Do what you want
The holidays are typically a time for seeing loved ones, exchanging gifts, and eating tons of food. What if that’s not how you want to spend the festive season, though? It’s easy to get carried away by what everyone else wants to do, but if you’re going to look after your mental health, you need to put yourself first. Make sure you have some time to do the things you want to do in the holidays, even if it’s only for a couple of days. You’ll feel all the better for it.
Get out of the house
Being cooped up inside over the holidays is never a good idea. Sure, it’s nice to put the heating on and get cozy in the evenings, but all day? That won’t do your mental wellbeing any favors. Even if you just go out for an hour or so every day, you’ll do yourself a world of good. It’ll be even better if you use that time to go for a walk. The combination of a change of scenery with the positive effects of exercise will keep your head in a better place. Plus, it will help you get some time to yourself if you’re finding things a bit crowded at home.
The holidays can be a difficult time to get through, especially if you’ve lost loved ones or are dealing with seasonal affective disorder. Just remember, though, that there are ways to cope if you’re struggling, and there are always professionals you can speak to.