It’s going to be a holiday season like no other. From financial worries to health fears, families separated by distance, and by safety concerns.
Loss, disappointment and sadness are natural feelings as we cancel gatherings and give up our beloved traditions, so this year, you should consider making different plans. And you should plan to look after your physical and mental well-being.
Start by giving yourself a break and cut back on the holiday madness. Decide what really matters to you, focus on what you can do and let the rest go. Stress and worry are contagious. By letting go of unreasonable expectations you’re not only lowering your own stress levels, you’re helping diffuse your family’s anxiety during this unusual season.
When you do feel stress building, take a deep breath and practice these simple mindful techniques from Harvard Medical School or the Mayo Clinic.
Add a daily walk to your “To Do” list. Physical activity is not just good for your blood pressure, it’s a great way to reduce stress. Schedule a good night’s sleep, try to eat healthy and mind your alcohol consumption (alcohol is, after all, a depressant). Your mind and body are a combo deal, take care of them both.
Create a support system, for you and your friends and family. Plan to reach out just to talk and to listen to how they are coping. Don’t be afraid to ask if they are okay, and don’t be afraid to share if you are struggling.
It’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed at the holidays, but if it’s keeping you from enjoying your family and friends or it’s affecting your ability to work or be a good parent or partner, reach out for help. Contact your local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health. If you think that you or a loved one could be in a crisis situation, text TALK to 741741, a trained professional can talk to you about what you’re experiencing and how to find help.