Here are some tips to manage your stress levels during National Stress-free Holiday Month
December is National Stress-Free (Family) Holiday Month. As many of us know, the holidays are a joyous but also stressful period of time, ranging from the crowds at the mall to family/friend tensions, hosting responsibilities, and regular day-to-day tasks.
Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern:
Stay hydrated- By ensuring you are drinking enough water, you can help reduce the chance of a flare-up with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Drinking enough water in the chilly temperatures of winter can help your skin stay healthy and hydrated.
Find time to exercise- Exercise is a healthy way to maintain both your physical and mental health. Exercising is a great way to help relieve everyday stressors we battle in addition to the stress that the holidays can add. You don’t need to hit the gym during the holidays to get your heart rate up, and you could try ice skating, skiing/ snowboarding, or hiking (even around the mall). Any form of exercise can release endorphins, which helps lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Spend time with loved ones- Spending time with your loved ones doesn’t mean they have to be your blood family; it could be with your chosen family and friends. Spending time with the special people in your life can help lessen the feeling of loneliness which in all helps improve your mental health.
Grief Over the Holidays:
It’s not all sad- Some parts of the holiday will be wonderful, and some moments will be painful. The anticipation of sadness may be stressful, but the holidays can provide an opportunity for healing. You can still look forward to celebrating with relatives & friends that are present and remember the great memories of past holidays.
It is okay to feel the way you feel- The holidays can be difficult for people for many reasons, but grief is one that most people feel more than others. When learning to live with the loss of a loved one, remember that everyone grieves differently and that how you feel is completely justified. Grief has no timeline, and while the holidays are overall a joyous time, it can be a stark reminder for a loved one that used to celebrate them with you that it doesn’t matter if they passed away in the last year or 10 years ago, you are entitled to your feelings.
Don’t feel pressured to uphold family/friend traditions- While they might be a comforting way to remember a loved one, sometimes traditions can be too painful to keep practicing. But you and the people in your life will find new ways to celebrate, and your traditions will adjust with time.
Managing Holiday Expectations:
Make a budget- This tip is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s important not to go overboard on gifts & activities. Do your best to stick to a budget, but leave a small amount on the side for wiggle room. The holidays can bring out an extra level of generosity in all of us.
Find the best time for you to shop- Whether that means you shop online, choose in-store or curbside pick-up, or like to hit the tile floors of the mall, shop however YOU feel comfortable. Shopping how you want to and in the way that you feel the most comfortable can help lessen the stress of buying presents for the people on your list.
Be kind to yourself- The holidays are a fun, jam-packed time with activities and events to attend, and it’s normal when you are so busy to forget about yourself. We want to remind you not to forget about you and be kind to yourself. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
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