For many, the seasonal holidays are a time of abundant joy and reconnecting with their families. However, the months of the year between October and January are often of increased stress. Some people are separated from their families or do not have healthy home environments to spend this season in. Others struggle with the social obligations and forced interactions during these months. Some even suffer depression brought on by the changing of the season and the reduced amount of natural light they experience during these times. Thankfully, there are ways for those who struggle through this time of year to prepare to make it easier to bear.
Tips For Making The Holiday Season More Tolerable
Taking steps to prepare yourself for the season ahead is a great way to ensure you mitigate the stress and depression accompanying it. One of the first proactive steps you can do to help immensely is properly managing your time. It means respecting your limits and knowing when your social battery is drained. Make sure you can meet your day-to-day tasks up to your typical standards. Don’t overschedule; give yourself plenty of time to rest between activities. This practice can be a struggle with the extra demands often placed on us to be social and present during these times. However, your mental and emotional health is more important than any obligations you may face. Learn to say no, and to stand firm while doing so. Some other useful tips include:
- Daily Exercise – Ensuring you get enough exercise daily can do wonders for a waning sense of energy and enthusiasm. Exercise accelerates your metabolism and helps you feel more awake throughout the day. It can also serve as a way of easing tension and helping you prepare for sleep at the day’s end. Learn to recognize how your system responds to exercise and use it appropriately.
- Eat Well – Not to be confused with eating abundantly, eating well can help lift your mood and help you maintain it even during high-activity periods. Maintaining a healthy diet throughout the holiday season can be challenging. You’ll be confronted with numerous snacks and sweets, as well as rich and fatty foods that are traditional during this time.
- Get Sufficient Sleep – If these are beginning to sound a bit boilerplate, there’s a reason. Taking care of our physical health with sufficient exercise, a good diet, and enough sleep is essential to managing stress. These steps ensure that the underlying foundation of your health is maintained as you march through the dark months of the year.
In addition to adhering to these tips, be sure to spend time out in nature when possible. It’s been shown to have a rejuvenating effect on the mind and body and can be a good way to disconnect.
Establish A Good Relationship With Your Mental Health Professional
Despite how helpful the above practices can be, they aren’t a cure-all. Mental health professionals are an essential component of the practices described above. They can help you address issues of chemical imbalance or tenacious mental health issues such as ADHD, bipolar, and chronic depression. Maintaining a steady schedule of visits is one of the most important parts of preparing to survive the holiday season.