The holiday seasons are associated with happiness and spending time with our families, and that glitzy and glittery image is what most people think of when the carols start flooding the radio. However, for many people the holidays are a time of stress and mental strain as they struggle to deal with the issues that arise. The social expectation to provide gifts, throw parties, or socialize with people they would normally avoid can cause immense stress in a person as their inability or unwillingness to do so can be interpreted by themselves as inadequacy. In this way, the holidays can be incredibly damaging to the mental wellness of an individual; this is especially true because someone who would complain about the stress of the holiday may be ostracized or shunned by others. After all, the holidays are a time of good cheer, good food, and good company; how can you possibly be stressed during them?
Thankfully, there are ways for you to destress during the holidays. Simple exercises that can be done in the comfort of your own home, or whenever you have a few minutes at your disposal. Spending some time taking deep, measured breaths while clearing your mind can help drop your heartbeat and the increased oxygen intake will also help relax you. Your mental state is tied closely to your physical state, and by taking some time to calm down your mind should steady itself in response. If you’re ever in need of a quick pick-me-up, try smiling. Having a smile on your face has been proven to make people feel better, as the motion of your muscles to make a smile have become so closely linked to the feeling of happiness that your brain decides you must be happy because you’re smiling. Make sure to schedule time for yourself during the hectic holiday season, just because you’re buying gifts for others doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to treat yourself. Finally, maintaining your normal schedule (or as close as you can manage) will help maintain a sense of order in your life that will help reduce the stress you feel. However, if you continue to feel that the stress of the holidays is too much to bear then there are still options available to you.
You can seek help from mental health practitioners or psychologist, who have the specialized training and knowledge to help you through this bought of difficulty. They can assist you in identifying subjects, people, or actions that are causing you the most stress and offer solutions on how to reduce, resolve, or remove those problems. Just having someone to talk to, and who will do their best to listen effectively to you, can provide a sense of solace and comfort by allowing you to unburden yourself. Reaching out for help from mental health practitioners isn’t something to be ashamed of, and your mental health is as important as your physical state. Preventative care is better than treatment after-the-fact, so be sure to see a mental health practitioner if you being to feel like you’re drowning in stress. Checking in once a year for a mental “physical” can also be helpful so that your practitioner can get a better sense of your mental state.