Although holiday gatherings with family and close friends can be exciting, they may also cause anxiety and stress. According to a recent APA poll, nearly one in three Americans expects to be more stressed this holiday season than last year. Add in complex family drama and grief, and you may feel the pressures of how to cope with it all. Additionally, unrealistic expectations for the holidays can add to the stress. To help you navigate the upcoming stressful season, we’ve put together several coping strategies to help strengthen your mental health during the holidays.
Attend therapy: Take time to attend some therapy sessions to chat about your feelings with an unbiased professional. The holidays can bring up difficult and complex emotions, and keeping scheduled therapy sessions helps you have time to process your feelings while finding solutions.
Cope with your grief: Although it may be difficult, sitting with your feelings and sadness can lower your stress. When you take a moment to slow down and assess your emotions, you’ll end up cutting back on piling more onto your plate. Don’t be afraid to spend some quality time with yourself, alone this year.
Dial back the financial spending: Holiday spending can cause people to be more stressed out than usual. It can also contribute to stress into the new year. This holiday season, try to avoid overspending and focus on celebrating by being present, engaging, and supporting each other.
Lean on your community: Community support is paramount during the holidays. Even if you decide to celebrate the holidays solo, you should still reach out to loved ones to gain community support and encouragement.
Unplug (turn off your electronics): Put your phone on DND and close your laptops during the holidays. To achieve holistic rest and limit stress, limiting your screen time is important.
Get outdoors: Seasonal depression is a type of depression that happens every year during a specific season, usually winter. To bolster your mood, spend quality time outside. Walking outside in the sun can be an effective calming and centering tool and can serve as a stress relief, increase your concentration, and improve your mental health.