November 30, 2020

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy, happiness, and fun. Instead, it is often the most stressful and hectic time of year for many people. We run ourselves ragged trying to make our homes look “Pinterest worthy”, buy our friends and family the perfect presents and cook the best meal for our family gatherings. This unrealistic pressure we put on ourselves is overwhelming and wreaks havoc on mental health. No wonder the holidays are the most stressful time of year for so many people!

6 Mental Health Tips for This Holiday Season

We focus so much of our energy and attention on other people and activities that we often neglect our own mental health. Don’t let that be you this year! Check out these mental health tips to keep you sane this holiday season.

1. Adjust your expectations for yourself

There is so much pressure in our culture to have a “highlight reel” holiday. If you don’t spend days preparing and all day cooking a whole large turkey with a smorgasbord of side dishes then it wasn’t a real Thanksgiving, right? Wrong!

These expectations are too overwhelming for anybody to really live up to. And do these expectations make the holidays better? Heck no! They make them immensely more stressful and create unnecessary work while taking all the joy out of what is supposed to be a happy season.

Instead of trying to create the “perfect” holiday season, take it down a notch and focus on what traditions make you and your family most excited. You will often get more joy from simple meaningful activities and traditions during the holiday season.

Don’t stress about making it look perfect, just be in the moment with your loved ones.

2. Don’t abandon self-care

When life gets busy during the holidays, self-care is usually the first thing to go. This is a mistake! If anything, self-care should take more of a priority during the holidays. Self-care is a simple but very effective way to combat the stress that the holiday season will bring and boost your mental health.

Taking care of yourself could mean eating nutritious meals, staying more hydrated, meditating, or even taking naps. Self-care will look different for everyone, but the goal of self-care is to do activities that bring you joy and relaxation. A good self-care routine will leave you feeling refreshed and energized instead of burned out and stressed during the holiday season.

3. Know your limits

If you’re like me, you start the holiday season with big ideas about what you want to do, cook, and see in the next few months. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make this time special for your family, but you need to stay realistic. Take an honest assessment of what you can handle physically, emotionally, and mentally and go from there. It’s better to start small and simple and add some extra stuff later than to spread yourself too thin.

4. Plan time for rest

It is far too easy to get so caught up in holiday activities every weekend between Thanksgiving and New Years that you run yourself into the ground trying to do everything. Make rest a priority this year by planning some downtime.

Block out some quiet time for you and your family at home. Purposely choose what holiday activities and gatherings are most important so you are not constantly running from one thing to another.

Trust me, you will be grateful to have some relaxing pockets of time during the holidays to help you combat stress. Another bonus? Your husband and kids will benefit from it too.

5. Get organized

Organization is key for a successful holiday season! Use a notebook, planner, or even the notes app on your phone- just have some kind of way to keep track of all of the gathering, meal-prep, activities, and gift-giving that will be happening in the next few months. Trust me, relying on your memory for every detail of this hectic season is a big mistake (hello brain fog!).

Keeping track of details of everything coming up to keep you focused and less stressed this holiday season.

6. Ask for help

Repeat after me: it is ok to ask for help. I know we all want to be supermom and do everything for ourselves and our family but that is just not realistic. It can be hard to admit that we need help. Be honest with yourself and reach out to your support system.

The holidays should be something you enjoy- not just something you survive every year. You and your family’s mental health is more important than having a picture-perfect Thanksgiving meal or Pinterest worthy Christmas tree. Slow down and enjoy this magical time with your family. Your mental health will thank you.

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