The holiday season is here, and there is a universal pressure to remain "merry and bright." However, this time can also be an influx of added stress and pressure. For many, the holidays can be a difficult time of year if they are struggling with mental health challenges, family dynamics, or uncomfortable memories. If you are struggling, here are some tips for coping:
Normalizing difficulty and distress
It is common to feel down, stressed, or overwhelmed around the holidays. This can be a result of being busy and having expectations placed on you by others, or from the opposite, from feeling lonely because you don't have the connections you'd like. If you're feeling this way, it's important to be gentle with yourself and to give yourself permission to take some time for self-compassion. This might mean setting boundaries and saying no to activities that you don't want to participate in, taking some time to relax and recharge on your own.
Actively practice gratitude
This can be as simple as setting aside a few minutes each day to think about or reflect on the things you're grateful for, which research has show to be effective for improving your mood and well-being. It can help to put your challenges and difficulties into perspective, and can give you a sense of connection to the people and things that matter in your life.
Self-care does not have to mean spending money
Some of the most effective forms of self-care can be free or low-cost. For example, taking a walk in nature, journaling, or practicing meditation can all be excellent forms of self-care that don't require any financial investment. It's important to remember that true self-care is about taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being in a way that feels authentic and meaningful to you, and this doesn't always have to involve spending money.
It is never a bad time to reach out to a therapist, loved ones, or a community who make you feel good. Emotional support can be incredibly nourishing and helpful in times of stress.
It is okay to take a breather at parties or events if they are causing you undue stress. Stepping back is an act of self-care, even if it is just for a few moments.
Remember, it is okay to not feel okay during the holidays. Take care of yourself - you are worthy of love and happiness. Wishing you a healthy holiday season.