by Noemi Flores, MSW, CSW
The holiday season is typically perceived as a time of celebration, a time of giving, sharing, and creating traditions. However, for many individuals the holidays can be filled with increased anxiety, stress, grief, and financial pressure.
There are numerous reasons why the holidays can feel blue rather than jolly and bright and, to be completely honest, if you are experiencing these emotions, you are not alone. Many individuals struggle to manage the chaos that comes with holiday festivities, from dealing with a busy social calendar to waiting in long lines at the grocery store and let’s not forget the colder weather and shorter days.
So, how does one prepare for this season and ensure that self-care and mental health remain a priority?
First, never apologize for the range of emotions you are experiencing. Allow yourself to feel, but if those emotions become too heavy to bear, please do not hesitate to reach out to friends, family members, or a professional mental health provider.
Second, don’t feel obligated to constantly spread “holiday cheer” or fit into a traditional holiday norm. It is okay to create new traditions and experiences.
Third, don’t break your piggy bank to purchase the latest and greatest gadget. May I suggest spending time creating memories with your loved ones instead of stressing over the perfect gift…these memories will last a lifetime.
Fourth, make self – care a PRIORITY. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep, incorporating movement throughout your day (YES! This is a nice way to say exercise), pick up a new hobby, or binge watch your favorite Netflix series. Take care of you!
Fifth– Last but not least, in preparation to the year coming to an end, create a gratitude list. It is the perfect time to reflect on the blessings 2022 has provided. Shifting our focus on giving thanks helps us feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improves health, deal with adversity, and build stronger relationships.