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How to Stay Mentally Healthy During the Holidays


Are you worried about your mental health over the holidays? Perhaps you’re feeling sad that you can’t spend Christmas with your family and friends the way you used to. Maybe you’re worried that you’re going to get sucked into Facebook or Netflix and never see the light of day. Or, perhaps you’re scared that you’re going to have too much time on your hands to be alone with your thoughts, procrastinating on chores.

Some say this is “the most wonderful time of the year”. But, for many, this is a challenging time of the year.

You might find yourself overthinking some of the loss that you’ve experienced. Missing people who might have passed-away. Feeling blah with the weather and low energy because of the lack of daylight. Or maybe Christmas brings up sad memories of Christmases past.

If any of this feels familiar, here are a few tips to keep you on track and feeling healthy this holiday season.

Pajama days are always fun and relaxing, but too many pajama days in a row, can kill your energy. Make sure you get dressed everyday, as if you are going to leave the house to go shopping, whatever that looks like for you. Don’t underestimate the benefit of getting dressed and doing your hair (and maybe even your make-up if that is something you would do on a workday). Different clothes create different feelings. Think about how you feel when dressed up for a gala event versus how you feel when dressed for a hockey game. This one tiny thing will help you keep your energy up.

Consistency is key. I know, I know this is your time off and maybe you don’t want a tight schedule. And, there is great benefit to having structure to your day. A loose routine helps you to feel a sense of control and gives you something to look forward to. This includes having a roughly consistent bed-time and wake-up time. Eating all of your meals around the same time each day, even if you’ve already had chocolate for breakfast. And, physical movement and outside time are key to your mental and physical health. Routine regulates your hormones which helps to keep your mood and energy even.

Make a fun To-Do List of all the exciting, uplifting, and relaxing things that you want to do during the holidays. Maybe you plan on walking through Candy Cane Lane and checking out the Christmas lights. Plan daily walks with your dog or a friend that is “in your bubble”. Family game nights or arts and crafts in my house, includes a lot of yelling, but its also fun and brings us closer together. Do some baking, make gingerbread houses or maybe a science experiment from google. Read that book or finish that project that you’ve been wanting to complete. But be sure to put it all in a To-Do List and post it on your fridge so you’re not feeling bored and aimless.

Everything in moderation. If you have time off during the holidays, it might be easy to overindulge in food, alcohol, and marijuana. Perhaps you want to let loose, and this is part of how you unwind and relax. Whatever you do for fun or to unwind, is very personal. Just keep in mind, the thing that is fun to do once or twice, doesn’t necessarily feel fun after a few days. Too much of a good thing can leave you feeling drained, cranky, and not like your normal self. Take care of your body and your mood and energy will follow.

I hope you find benefit in these pointers. Drop a note and let me know how you plan on spending your holidays.

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