5 Tips for Mentally Healthy Holidays

We can easily lose touch with the joy of the holiday season when negative feelings creep into our minds. Be proactive about your mental health. Minimize the hectic and stressful aspects of the season so that your mind and heart can be touched by moments of delight, awe, and hope. Here are five tips to help you have mentally-healthy holidays.

1. Give yourself a mental health break. As we enter the holiday season there is way too much pressure to go all out with decorations, recipes, extra activities and shopping. You don’t have to buy into this idea of perfection. Trying to meet unrealistic expectations contributes to stress and anxiety. Give yourself permission to refrain from the frenzy of holiday “muchness.” Give yourself a mental health break by choosing to keep it simple this year.

2. Give someone a mental health hug. In the spirit of the holidays, surprise someone with a generous gesture of kindness. You may be surprised how many of us struggle day-to-day with mental illness or have loved ones who do. You can be a sparkle of hope in a person’s day by reaching out and being a true friend. Spend time with someone you know who’s had a rough time or is facing a difficult anniversary during this holiday season. Your compassionate listening, hopeful companionship, and supportive presence can help lift the fog of despair and loneliness. Give someone a mental health hug by reminding them that they are not alone.

3. Part ways with people pleasing. Okay, admit it. There is someone in the family (it just might be you) who runs ragged trying to people please, making sure that everyone else is happy. (This, by the way, is crazy making.) No matter how good your pie, somebody is going to complain about the crust. No matter how hard you try to ensure a good time, somebody is going to be cranky (it just might be you). And no matter how hard you try, somebody is not going to appreciate how hard you’ve worked or all the sacrifices you have made. We cannot force people to be grateful for us or to change their attitudes and behaviors. Create good boundaries that protect you from internalizing other’s negativity. Part ways with people pleasing and discover how freeing it feels to not be enmeshed in other people’s mess.

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