The holidays are meant to be a fun and exciting time but they can also put a strain on your mental health. Between endless to-do lists, feeling overwhelmed or anxious, and feeling depressed or lonely due to missing a loved one, the holidays can take their toll. Thankfully, OhioGuidestone Community Mental Health Worker Cassie Clark has five tips to help you get through the holidays:
1. Prioritizing to-do lists.
I’m a big fan of organization, prioritizing and making schedules—I suggest this to my clients all the time. When you’re trying to think of everything you have to do—and keep it all straight—having it only in your head can be overwhelming and quickly lead to anxiety. Writing things down allows you to do a “mental dump.” Plus, a list lets you visually see what you have to do and cross things off as they are completed. In the same token, I also tell my clients to go a step further and break their list down into days so that it feels more achievable.
2. Setting boundaries with loved ones.
The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends, but a lot of times it can result in altercations between family members with clashing personalities. To combat this, try setting boundaries or choose to visit for a short time rather than the whole day.
3. Don’t overdo it.
Going into debt to buy gifts is never a good idea. It can cause anxiety, depression and regret on top of financial strain and frustration. Budget your money and only deal with money in your account or in cash. Setting a budget can go a long way. I often tell my clients to set a limit for each person they’re buying for and shop sales to save.
4. Honor those who have passed.
Holidays are big triggers for missing loved ones, as they are usually involved in our traditions. When missing a loved one during the holidays, honor their memory by keeping up traditions and carrying on their legacy. Make their favorite meal or dish and share memories with family.
5. Avoid isolation.
During the holidays, the weather can be gloomy, which makes it very easy for people to recluse and isolate themselves. I recommend searching for free events in the community to engage with others, finding winter hobbies such as winter crafts, volunteering at food pantries, toy drives or other activities.