6 Tips for Protecting Your Mental Health This Holiday Season

The holidays can be a joyous time for some, and a time for anxiety, depression, and isolation for others. During this time, you want to make sure to practice ways to protect your mental health. I’ve put together a list of 6 tips to help you protect your mental health throughout the holiday season.

IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS

This season can be filled with triggers. Whether that’s people, crowds, alcohol, conversations, or something else – try to identify what makes you feel stressed, uneasy, or overwhelmed. Try to be aware of those triggers and what happens when you feel them. This can help you to prepare yourself for those situations so you can respond and process in a healthy way ahead of time. Communicate your boundaries ahead of time with the people you may be spending the holidays with to avoid unwanted triggers.

SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

One of the biggest things that set us up for disappointment and anxiety during the holiday season is setting too high expectations. Although the movies depict a perfect “miracle” Christmas, that isn’t the reality for most. Use these affirmations to help you to accept the holiday, yourself, and your family in this season:

I choose to see the joy in the holiday season
I give myself permission to say no and focus on what gives me a true connection
I release my expectation of others
I treat myself and my body with kindness
I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend time with the people I love

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR

Speaking of being grateful, be sure to focus on what you are grateful for and not what you may be missing out on. Practicing gratitude is shown to help improve your health, deal with adversity, and improve your relationships. One way to practice gratitude is spending 5 minutes every morning to write down specifics on what you are grateful for, for instance, “I am grateful that I can spend quality time with my family because I only get to see them a few times a year.”

MAINTAIN A ROUTINE

If you have a morning routine that helps you feel safe and calm, continue that routine if you can. Some routines that you may want to make sure you keep are your workout routine, resting, meditation, journaling, and most importantly – your self-care routine (which is anything that makes you feel whole and at peace).

SPEND TIME IN NATURE

Connecting with nature is an important step in improving your mental health, mood, and emotional well-being. Being outside in nature helps with mental focus, fatigue, reduces stress and fear, and a number more positive benefits. Here are 12 ways to connect with nature, including using grounding techniques that can help you feel centered and reconnected.

CREATE A BUDGET, AND STICK TO IT

The financial burden of the holidays can affect our minds, our wallets, and our relationships. The pressure to buy expensive gifts, decorations, and make elaborate meals can cause undue stress. To alleviate this create a budget and be sure to stick to it. Some tips would be to look for alternative gift options, DIY your decorations, and useful tips provided on the next Hometown: Earth Episode (12/1)  to help you have a greener Christmas that will help your wallet and the impact on the planet.

No matter what – remember to give yourself grace. And hopefully, you can practice these tips to help ease you through the holidays so you can remember it as a time of merry and joy! What do you do to help protect your mental health during the holidays? Let me know in the comments!

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