‘Tis The Season To Also Take Care Of Yourself.Nov 01, 2023 08:00AM ● By Dr. Shikha Shrestha
The holidays are here…already. For many of us, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. However, it is the most challenging time of the year for those coping with mental health challenges.
Here are some tips to help you survive and even enjoy this season:
Be kind to yourself.
Put your mental and physical well-being first. This is hard to do during the season for gift shopping, entertaining, and gathering with friends and family, but it is possible.
Know your triggers.
Understand what is making you feel mentally and physically agitated. By recognizing these situations, you can prepare for them. You can do this by creating a list and determining the steps you can take to minimize these feelings before they hit.
Manage your time.
Don’t try to do too much. Making a day-to-day schedule can help you from feeling overwhelmed by your tasks and deadlines. Seeing your daily list on paper helps it seem finite and conquerable. Crossing each one off upon completion gives a sense of satisfaction, even a small victory.
Also, realize it’s okay to say no to plans that don’t fit your schedule or make you feel good.
The happy, smiling, celebrating people you see on holiday shows and commercials are not real life. They’re fictional, often depicting the perfect scenario. In the lives we live, perfection is impossible. And that’s okay. We all have struggles at one time or another that we need to accept and recognize that we are not alone.
Set aside time for yourself.
This may be the most challenging step for many of us, especially during holidays that revolve around giving to and helping others. But it’s not just a good practice; it’s an essential one. Everyone needs a moment to simply recharge. Read a book, go to the movies, get a massage, walk your dog, lay on your back, look up, admire your beautiful Christmas tree, and think of the joy this season can deliver. Whatever it takes to escape for a minute, do.
Dinners, parties, homemade cookies and candies, and drinks. Everywhere you look, there’s a tray of something sweet to eat. This all adds to your mental stress. Despite all the temptations, try and maintain a healthy diet – or at least a less unhealthy one.
Daily exercise not only improves your physical health, it naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, you’ll be glad you did.
Yes, we realize that as busy as you are during the holidays, it seems counterintuitive to volunteer to do even more, but there is a reason behind the madness of this suggestion.
By helping people who are not as fortunate, you can feel less lonely, less stressed, and more connected to others.
The more we redirect our efforts to helping others, the less we dwell upon our own struggles, and soon, we begin to feel better about ourselves and our lives.
Get enough sleep.
The more sleep we get, the less likely we are to have overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Also, mental health conditions like mania and bipolar disorder are triggered by lack of sleep.
Remember, success and contentment are made up of small victories throughout your day, week, and the holidays.
This year, we hope you eat better, sleep deeper, enjoy more, and take all the timeouts needed to better appreciate this holiday season.