Ah, the holidays! It's that time of the year when the air is infused with the aroma of
sugar cookies and pine, the streets are adorned with twinkling lights, and
there's an unmistakable buzz of excitement all around. However, it's important
to be realistic and acknowledge that as much as it's a season for joy and
festivities, it can also feel like an emotional rollercoaster. For some people,
it's a time of togetherness and warm, fuzzy feelings, but for others, it can be
a painful reminder of what's missing, stirring up feelings far from merry and
bright. If you find yourself in the latter category, please know you're not
Taking care of your mental health during this season is not just important; it's essential!
Let's walk through some ways to keep your well-being front and center even as
the holidays whirl around you.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
First and foremost, acknowledge how you feel. It’s okay if you’re not brimming with
holiday cheer. The holidays can evoke a range of emotions, especially if you’re
dealing with loss or are away from loved ones. Allow yourself to feel whatever
comes up without judgment.
Set Realistic Expectations
Holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow,
traditions often do as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to
creating new ones. Remember, saying no to events or traditions that don’t bring
you joy or peace is okay.
Setting boundaries is crucial, especially when it comes to family interactions.
Limiting exposure to relationships or situations that feel toxic or draining is
healthy. Decide in advance how much time you’ll spend with your family and
friends and stick to it. It’s okay to take time for yourself.
Don’t let self-care take a backseat during the holidays. Continue or start practices that
nurture your well-being, be it meditation, reading, or exercise. Self-care
isn’t selfish; it’s essential to maintaining your mental health.
If you feel lonely or isolated, consider seeking social events, religious gatherings, or
other community activities. These can provide support, companionship, and a
chance to broaden your friendships. Volunteering your time to help others is
also a great way to boost your mood and make new connections.
Seek Professional Help If Needed
Finally, if you find yourself feeling persistently sad, anxious, unable to sleep,
irritable, and hopeless, and these feelings last for a while, talk to your
doctor or a mental health professional. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness!
The holiday season, with all its ups and downs, is a journey we all navigate differently.
If you need more support this time of year, consider seeking professional
guidance from Refuge Counseling of Arkansas. We're here to support you through
the holiday season and beyond with our wide range of in-person and online counselingservices for individuals and couples to teens and college students; we have the resources and team of caring professionals ready for anyone who needs help processing and navigating
their current struggles and stressors in life.