The holidays are a time when many of us feel an increased sense of stress. The pressure to spend time with family, buy gifts, maintain your routine, and be merry can be too much. You may be especially vulnerable to holiday stress triggers that pop up this time of year if you struggle with your mental health.
It's important to remember that you may feel different during the holidays, and that's okay. Likewise, you may need to take extra care of yourself right now, and that's also okay. All said, there are a few things you can do to help make the holidays a little easier on yourself and keep your stress levels at bay.
1. Don't Compare Yourself To Others
There are a lot of expectations placed on us to be happy and festive this time of year, but that doesn't mean you have to force yourself to feel jolly if you aren't. If the thought of Christmas cheer makes you want to curl up in a ball and hide away until New Year's, that's perfectly understandable.
Does this mean it's the best solution for your mental health? No, but it's okay to acknowledge how you're feeling. Plus, you are less alone in feeling this way than you think. And when you need a mantra or reminder: think, more patience, and less pretending.
2. Don't Try To Do Too Much
There's so much going on this time of year! It seems like we're expected to attend events, get-togethers, and parties – whether or not our mental health hinders us. But you don't have to overextend yourself just because it's the holidays.
It's okay to say no when you're feeling overwhelmed. Unrealistic expectations (especially the ones made up on social media) can bring down the best people. Instead, prioritize your time and energy, focus on what matters most, and let the rest go.
3. Take Some Time For Yourself
Schedule some downtime daily to relax and recharge if you want to be proactive about managing holiday stress. There may be a hobby or book you've wanted to pick up. Use this time to do something that brings you joy.
4. Set Boundaries For Yourself And With Others
It's essential to remember that we always have the right to set boundaries, even during the holiday season. For example, if there's an event that you know will be too triggering or stressful, it's okay to say no.
The same goes for your loved ones. If certain family members or friends bring about added anxiety, negativity, or stress, then it's okay to set limits on how much time you spend with them. However, if that's not an option, practice saying no gracefully.
Don't be afraid to put your mental health first this holiday season. Remember, you deserve to enjoy this time of year and choose where to put your time and energy.
5. Reach Out For Support
Talking about your stress can help to lessen its impact. If you're overwhelmed by holiday stress, reach out for support from family and friends, and lean on your support system for tasks or errands when needed. They'll be happy to pitch in and provide relief.
And remember, there's no shame in admitting that you need extra support to handle holiday stress and feel better this time of year. At Pacific Mind Health, we're here and available to support you through the holiday season and beyond. Our professional psychiatric services (including TMS Therapy) can help you find your own kind of peace and joy this season.