A man during Christmas with a worried look on his face.

10 Ways to Manage Mental Health During the Holidays

The holiday season often brings joy and cheer, but for many it can also be an emotionally challenging time of year. Additional stress, unrealistic expectations, family dynamics, loneliness, and even grief can take a toll on our mental health. Here are 10 tips to help take care of your mental health during the holidays:

  1. Set Reasonable Expectations

The holidays often depict perfect gatherings and experiences in media and advertising. Remember that no one's holidays live up to those idealized images. Set reasonable expectations for yourself - don't pressure yourself to have the picture perfect holidays.

  1. Create a Budget

Financial stress is common during the holidays. Make a budget for gifts, food, travel, and other expenses and stick to it. Don't overextend yourself financially in an effort to create perfect holidays. Ask loved ones to set spending limits on gifts.

  1. Practice Self-Care

Make taking care of yourself a priority - even during the busiest times. Make time for adequate sleep, healthy food, exercise, and activities you enjoy. Say no to commitments that leave you overwhelmed. Protect your energy and wellbeing.

  1. Limit Alcohol

It's easy to overindulge in alcohol at holiday parties and events. However, excessive alcohol often exacerbates anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Drink in moderation.

  1. Spend Time with Supportive People

Family relationships can be challenging. Spend time with supportive, understanding friends and loved ones who bring you up instead of bringing you down. Limit interactions with toxic people.

  1. Get Outdoors

Make time to get outdoors for fresh air, exercise, and solitude even in cold weather. Bundle up and go for a short walk to clear your head and boost your mood.

  1. Give Back

Volunteer in your community, help a neighbor, donate to a charity, or practice small acts of kindness. Giving back boosts your mental health by taking the focus off your own worries.

  1. Seek Help If Needed

If stress, loneliness, grief, or other difficult emotions become overwhelming, seek professional mental health support. Many crisis and support lines offer 24/7 assistance.

  1. Unplug

Set boundaries with technology and social media. The constant connection can heighten anxiety during the holidays. Unplug from screens to be more present with loved ones.

  1. Plan Relaxing Activities

Make time for activities you find relaxing and recharging like reading, crafting, listening to music, watching favorite movies, etc. Prioritize your mental health through relaxation.

The holiday season often emphasizes being merry and bright. But it's important to balance festivities with reasonable expectations and adequate self-care. Implementing even a few of these tips can help safeguard your mental health this season. What are your best self-care strategies during the holidays? Please share in the comments!

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