The upcoming holidays can make a lot of us very anxious. Meeting family and friends and navigating relationships can trigger uncomfortable feelings before the meet up and become stressful. However, understanding that having a mental illness is the same as any other chronic illness is important – in other words, making your mental well-being a top priority is crucial. Here’s how to help manage stress and maintain your mental health over the holidays.
During the holidays, there’s tons to do – like cooking, shopping, meeting people, and more. However, if you feel your symptoms coming on or feel any discomfort, say no.
Prioritize your emotional well being and contentment above all and, instead, partake in activities that reduce your stress. Create a situation with minimal triggers that maintains your sense of safety.
Maintain Your Routine
Whether it’s taking your medication, working out, meditating, journaling, or even going to bed at 11 p.m., maintain the routine that you usually follow.
By sticking to a familiar routine during the holidays, you’ll be keeping stress and anxiety at bay. You will also be managing your symptoms in a healthy way. Familiarity is comfort, and that’s extremely important when it comes to mental wellness.
Avoid Alcohol or Consume in Controlled Quantities
Alcohol is a depressant and those with mental illness need to be careful about consuming it too much. During holidays, skip alcohol altogether or consume light liquor like beer or cider.
Remember not to overdo it, and speak to your doctor if you are on medication. Choose other healthier alternatives – besides, you don’t need to drink to keep stress at bay.
Remove Yourself From Toxic Situations
The holiday can bring quite a lot of people together, but mix in some controversial topics and archaic thoughts and there’s a problem.
When a situation begins to disturb you, makes you uncomfortable, stressed out or feels too toxic, just leave. Excusing yourself from toxic people is a very important step towards caring for your mental well being.
Avoid Feeling Guilty
Sure, you want to please your loved ones and be able to make them happy, but putting pressure on yourself to perform may induce guilt and stress when you’re unable to deliver.
Remind yourself that it’s unrealistic to please everyone. You come first, and so does your well-being. Sometimes, your symptoms may act up and prevent you from giving others your best and that’s okay – keep the guilt away and go easy on yourself.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Whether you’re meeting family in the same city or flying out to meet them, keep your trip short and sweet. The less time you spend in an environment that makes you nervous, the better.
After all, only you know how holidays and get-togethers make you feel – so appraise the situation and spend an adequate amount of time which doesn’t tax your well being.
As always, you’re the best judge of your well-being. Remember to practice breathing exercises, and keep a positive outlook. Happy Holidays, and good luck!