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  • Austin Warren

5 mental health care tips for the holidays

The bustling holiday season may be a time of joy and merriment for many, but it also has the potential to compound the stress of daily life, especially for those who already suffer from chronic stress, generalized anxiety, or depression.

With the expectations of gift-giving and social interaction on the shoulders of millions during this time, there are some who feel the weight and struggle with it, but there are ways to overcome the stress in productive and healthy ways.

Here are four tips that may help you get through a stressful holiday season:

1.     Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is vital to managing your exposure to situations and people that are bad for your mental health. By communicating these boundaries, your loved ones will better understand why you might be unwilling to enter certain situations or interact with certain people.

This is especially important for those already suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression, as the conflict spurred from crossed boundaries may compound any symptoms.

2.     Put Plans to Paper

Lists serve as a way for you to visually identify everything you need to do over the holiday season. Whether you are listing out all of the obligations you have before you leave for break or things you need to do while on break, such as the heavily-delayed FAFSA, a list can make ideas that seem unsurmountable in your mind easy to quantify and overcome.

3.     Navigate Your Stressors

Perhaps by employing the previous step on this list, it may be useful for some to identify their stressors in order to find ways to navigate them. Whether one’s stressors include political discussions with that family member or budgeting for gifts, it is possible to create a route around them once they are outlined.

For instance, you can develop a plan to steer conversation away from politics or find less expensive alternatives for gifts—such as crafts or poems—that may be even more heartfelt than a storebought gift.

4.     Make Time for You

While the holidays are a busy time for everyone, it’s important that you still find time for what you want to do. If parties and other festivities are your thing, that’s great. If laying back and watching your favorite holiday movies sounds more appealing to you, though, that’s as good of a way to spend the holiday season as any. Finding the right balance of managing expectations and doing what you want will save you a lot of stress.

If holiday troubles are too much for you to manage, make sure to seek out help from those you trust, such as loved ones or licensed professionals.

We at Berea College News hope you stay happy and healthy over the break. Happy Holidays!

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