We all know the holidays can be a time of increased stress: hosting guests, buying gifts, reuniting with family, and stepping away from routine. Although for many this is also a time of joy and happiness, it is important we not only continue our efforts to take care of ourselves but actually increase them. So what can we do?
Pay Attention to Your Body: What is your body telling you? Are you tired? Is it hard to think clearly? The crowd is feeling overwhelming? What is one thing you can do to feel a little bit more yourself? Practice grounding. Take a break. Set limits with family and friends, IT IS OK TO LEAVE A PARTY EARLY!
Keep Up Your Support System: Who makes you feel like you? Who makes you feel safe, happy, healthy, whole? If you are separate from your primary supports during this time (e.g. therapist, partner, friends, community), how can you continue to connect with these people? Schedule calls and time with friends. Make plans for after you return home to reconnect.
Keep Up Your Routine: What parts of your schedule can you maintain? What pieces of your day to day life can remain in place? Continue to exercise. Stick close to your sleep schedule. Eat regularly and consistently.
The holidays can be a time of joy and love and pain and sadness. And these three things likely won't change that but perhaps they can be a step toward a less overwhelming holiday experience.
For more information about the impact of the holiday season on mental health can be found here: https://www.nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2014/Mental-health-and-the-holiday-blues