Written By: Stacey Bird - Mental Health Clinician - December 2023
While the Holiday Season can be a festive and positive time of year to spend time with family and friends, this time of year can also be challenging.
With this in mind, we wanted to share some healthy tips for prioritizing mental health around the holidays. Check out these tips from The Grove’s Mental Health Clinician, Stacey, below!
1. Be mindful of your “social battery” and when you need to recharge
The holidays involve a lot of togetherness and socializing. This can feel physically and mentally draining at times. Depending on your family dynamic, increased time spent with family may create discomfort and tensions can run high. It is important to allow ourselves permission to say “no” to social obligations or to leave early if you feel overwhelmed. You do not need to feel guilty for prioritizing your well-being.
2. Avoiding feelings of loneliness and social isolation
The holidays can be especially hard if you feel lonely or are unable to be with your loved ones. Finding creative ways to alleviate these feelings and connect with others and your community is important for maintaining your mental wellness. Consider volunteering your time in the community, sending Christmas cards, and being intentional about practicing self-care and doing things that bring you joy. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support should feelings of loneliness and sadness become overwhelming.
3. Avoid overspending by deciding on a realistic budget ahead of time
The holidays are expensive. It can be easy to get caught up in our generosity and the pressure of marketing campaigns, however, overspending in our gift-giving, can result in negative impacts on our physical and mental health. This can include difficulty with sleep, an increase in anxiety, and low mood. Financial stress may also place strain on our relationships. Setting a realistic budget ahead of time can help mitigate the pressure to overspend and avoid the lasting impacts of financial stress. It can be helpful to keep in mind that giving to others isn’t just about spending money.
4. Set realistic expectations – the holidays don’t have to be perfect!
With our increased digital consumption and the promotion of unrealistic standards on social media, it can be easy to compare our holiday experiences to others. This can result in us holding negative feelings towards ourselves, others, or the holidays as a whole. You may also find yourself comparing your holiday season to previous years. It can be helpful to keep in mind there are likely different circumstances surrounding your holiday season each year – your financial situation may have changed, your relationships with others may have changed, etc. Choose a few traditions to hold onto and be open to creating new ones!
5. Don’t abandon healthy habits
It can be tempting to allow the holiday season to become a free-for-all, however, over-indulgence can add to feelings of stress and guilt as the new year looms. It can be helpful to stick to regular routines and healthy habits as much as possible to mitigate these feelings. Moderation is key!
If you are looking for community and support this holiday season, check out The Grove’s upcoming holiday programs here!