Dashing through the snow and going home for the holidays? Santa Claus is coming to town and all you want to do is survive the 12 days (PLUS!) of Christmas. The holidays are a crazy time of shopping, wrapping, paying, cooking, baking, visiting, traveling, decorating—and undecorating. Here are some tips on caring for your mental health during the holidays.
Know When to Say When
Guess what! It’s OK to say “no.” No to constant gatherings, no to another glass of wine, no to that extra helping of grandma’s stuffing.
Don’t Abandon You
Don’t let the craziness of Christmas, and it’s crazy consumptive nature, consume you. Take time for yourself in whatever means necessary to maintain a healthy balance.
Make the holidays about quality time with loved ones, whoever and whatever that may be. Don’t worry about the brilliant light display, the perfectly arranged home decorations, and the ultimate (and sometimes unrealistic) gifts under the tree. Sometimes the best holidays are when you get snowed in and get to just be with each other.
Make Yourself Unavailable
Sometimes you may have to go all “Christmas with the Kranks” and physically get away to a far destination so you can relax in peace in order to care for your mental health during the holidays.
You can also make yourself technologically unavailable by putting your devices in a drawer for a while and taking time for yourself. If you are concerned about the reaction of loved ones if they can’t reach you, shoot them a quick “I’ll be unavailable until…” text.
When you give unexpectedly, the light you see in the receiver’s eye can brighten your days and help lift your spirits too. Put together a small treat basket for a neighbor, make treats for the furry friends of loved ones, or just spend time with someone who may be alone. You can also give back to your community by participating in a food, clothing, or blanket drive.
Don’t Compare or Be Compared
Quell the expectations. One great way to do this is to stay away from the rampant advertising and avoid social media. It shouldn’t be, but it can be crushing when you see someone getting a Lexus, and all you can afford to give, financially, are some holiday candies. It’s about caring, not currency.
Everything in Moderation
Be mindful of your consumption of all things holiday-related such as food, drinks, shopping, traveling, etc. Don’t drink and drive, drink responsibly, and if you feel like you might have a drinking problem, seek help.
Offer a Loose Commitment
There is so much going on, and we tend to overcommit. Don’t respond to invitations with a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead say “I will try,” or “we will see,” and make sure they understand there are no guarantees you can participate. The holidays are about giving, but they can also be about compromise. If travel is difficult for you, perhaps your loved ones can come to your place.
Stick to Your Routine
During the holidays it is easy to get way off track physically and emotionally because you are keeping many different hours of wake and sleep time, as well as drastically changing your diet and social interaction. Try to maintain your normal schedule and way of eating throughout the holiday season.
The holidays can be really tough emotionally, particularly if you are struggling with mental illness, the illness of another, or a recent traumatic event. If you do not currently have a good support system of your own, look into other ways to obtain one.
Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital can help you find the support you need. We are available 24/7 for self-referrals, family referrals, or medical professional referrals, for various levels of intensive psychiatric or detox care. Contact us today to make sure you remain the healthiest you during the holidays.