December 06, 2019

Supporting Mental Wellness During the Holidays

Many of us look forward to the holiday season with a sense of joyous anticipation.  For some, this time of year feels merry and bright, but it can also be associated with a wave of negative emotion.

Those who experience existing mood disorders or mental health conditions (such as anxiety or depression) may feel especially vulnerable during around the holidays. 

To support healthy mental wellness, Baptist Health provides resources that help identify factors that may affect our mental wellness. Examples of circumstances that can affect our mental wellness during the holidays are:

  • Seasonal Sensations – In the winter, we are exposed to less natural sunlight and holiday celebrations can make us experience changes in our diet and nutrition.
  • Holiday Environments – At holiday events we may see other people we are far removed or estranged from such as extended family and friends. If there is unresolved trauma at these social gatherings, they may make a person feel overwhelmed or lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic or feeling unsafe.
  • Grief, Loss and Feeling Lonely – Holidays may serve as a painful reminder of those we have lost. The loss of a loved one feels especially strong when a shared memory, such as a holiday tradition carries on in their absence.
  • Increased Financial BurdenIn some cultures, society has created associations between holidays and spending. If a family participates in gift-giving, hosting parties, charitable donations and traveling for gathering, financial strain is definitely a possibility.
  • Unrealistic Expectations and Cultural DemandHoliday time leads to packed calendars with office parties, social events, family gatherings, and school performances. These events compete in your limited schedule with your personal routines and self-care. Society norms pressure us to achieve the illusion of experiencing “The Perfect Holiday” in an already image-driven “hustle” culture.

One could experience any or all of the above factors.  Each can contribute to our emotional and mental wellness at any time.  How do we ground ourselves to stay focused on what truly matters: our joy and wellness?  How can we better manage our own mental health and support our loved ones during this time of year? Though this can all sound overwhelming, Baptist Health is here to help. Keep reading to find out how you can practice mental wellness this holiday season.

Tips for Mental Wellness During the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time, and can bring up many difficult emotions, especially if you’re grieving or have experienced loss. Try preventing stress and depression before it starts with these proactive tips to take care of your mental health during the holidays:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings
  2. Reach out for support
  3. Be realistic with your expectations
  4. Practice self-care
  5. Make time for mindfulness
  6. Invest in therapy
  7. Set healthy boundaries
  8. Give yourself and others patience and compassion

Take Care of Your Mental Health

The holidays can be a busy time, and it’s easy to forgot to take care of yourself among the hustle and bustle. It’s also easy to compare your reality to what you see online and experience overwhelming stress and disappointment. That’s why prioritizing your holiday mental health is so critical.

To learn more about how to create healthy mental wellness or to find a provider near you, visit our online provider directory. 

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