By Clare Fite, LPC, LCDC
Director of Counseling Services
The holidays are a great time to assemble with people we love, honor traditions, give thanks and exchange gifts. While these blessings give us a sense of happiness and joy, they also can be stressful.
The holiday season is busy — involving shopping, cooking and traveling. It can result in financial stress and impact your mental health. Here are a few suggestions on how to better cope with the holiday blues and maintain good mental health.
Keep a routine.
Don’t abandon your normal routine. If you enjoy going to the gym in the mornings, eating lunch at noon and being in bed before 11 p.m. then strive to do that. Small adjustments in our schedules are more easily achieved and don’t cause much distress. Large schedule changes can lead to feelings of uncertainty and alter our ability to feel positive and present.
Focus on what you can control, and let go of what you can’t.
When we focus our attention on what we control, we feel more effective and positive. Take time to recognize what is in your control. Focus on the influence you can make and accept that the outcome is rarely yours to decide.
Stock up on compassion for yourself.
We are often our own worst critic. We speak to ourselves in ways we would never to speak to others. A kind tone and words when talking to yourself promotes overall wellness and helps to combat feelings of stress and sadness.
Give yourself permission to take breaks.
It is important for you to rest and give your body and mind time to restore. Many people perceive downtime as a symptom of laziness. In a culture that tells us to go faster and do more, we often feel great shame when we take time to take care of ourselves. Introduce intentional and guilt-free rest into your routine.
Know it is okay to feel it.
It is completely normal to feel upset during the holidays. Acknowledge how you feel, and tell yourself what you are feeling is valid.