7 Ways to Take Care of your Mental Health this Holiday Season

Nov 30, 2021

Silly season is almost upon us. This time of year can bring excitement, joy and a sense of connection to those close to us. Adversely, it can come with a lot of stress, feelings of anxiety or depression, and loneliness. 

Large family reunions, public outings, and group activities can be overwhelming at the best of times. Throw in a global pandemic and the recent emergence from lockdowns, and the holiday season can easily become more overwhelming than relaxing.

Remembering to take care of your mental health during the holiday seasons can be a challenge. There are higher expectations, additional expenses, and a heightened chance of loneliness. 

You may be already feeling the stress that comes with the holiday season. Gift shopping, travel planning and upcoming social events can have you feeling like you can't catch a break. If you’ve got a holiday planned you may feel equal parts anxious and excited. For many people, this may be the first time travelling in two years. 

If you're feeling overwhelmed, there are ways to reduce stress and take care of your mental health during this time.

If holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past, it may be beneficial to create an action plan for a preventative measure. Some other ways you can take care of your mental health:

1. Recognise and acknowledge your feelings

The holiday season can be an emotional time. The global pandemic has meant extended time away from family and friends. If you’ve recently lost someone close to you or are not able to spend time with loved ones, it’s normal to feel sadness, grief and loneliness.

It can be a hard time of year to be separated from those closest to you, especially when exposed to social media and family-oriented advertisements. Take time to cry or express your emotions in a way that is best for you.

2. Be realistic

So much has changed in the last few years. Understand that family relationships, traditions, and rituals may be different. If family members can’t make it to gatherings, get creative and find new ways to celebrate together, such as emails, video calls or virtual games.

3. Stick to a budget

Not only can this time of year bring on family stress, but it can also cause financial hardship. Before you do gift and food shopping, decide on a realistic amount you are willing to spend.

It can be easy to get carried away buying gifts but try to stick to your set budget. Consider suggesting a Secret Santa to your family to relieve the burden of extra gifts. Alternatively, get creative and make homemade gifts or donate to a charity in someone’s name.

4. Learn to say no

It can be tempting to say yes to every event that comes your way, but saying yes when you would prefer to say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Coming out of lockdown makes it especially hard to turn down plans, but try to be realistic and put the needs of yourself first.

 Make sure to check in with yourself and if you can handle the commitments.  Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If you need some more tips on setting boundaries, we have a 3 step template to help you say no. 

Download our free 3 Step Process to Set Boundaries.

5. Stick to healthy habits

Don’t abandon healthy habits during this time. Try to stick to your routine the best you can, but don't feel guilty if things change. Try these suggestions:

  • Eat nourishing meals.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
  • If you get anxious reading the news or on social media, reduce screen time.
  • Practice gratitude and mindfulness.
6. Spend some time for yourself

If it all becomes too overwhelming, carve out some time in your day or week to spend by yourself. This could be anything from a hike, meditation, or just sitting inside watching Netflix. Find an activity you enjoy and spend even 15 minutes alone without distractions. 

7. Reach out

If you're feeling lonely, isolated or depressed, seek out people in the community you can connect with. Look online for community groups or reach out to neighbours and people close by. If you're far away from family and friends, go the extra mile to set up a video or phone chat. Additionally, seek professional help if you're feeling hopeless or stuck.

We understand the holiday season can be filled with connection, happiness and positivity, but try not to feel let down or guilty if things don't go as planned. Remember to take a moment for you. Happy Holidays.