‘Tis almost the season to be jolly, as we all anticipate a whole host of presents, get-togethers, and family reunions. But the festivities bring a unique kind of stress, one that many of us have trouble coping with, especially if we’re already dealing with mental health issues.
During the holiday season, expectations soar. We want to prepare the perfect turkey, nail those healthy Halloween recipes, and impress all our loved ones. We want to purchase the right gifts for everyone and avoid the almost inevitable family conflicts.
It becomes too easy to turn a blind eye to your own needs and anxieties during this time. To prevent derailing your emotional stability and mental wellness, you should focus on self-care despite the holidays. Perhaps, even, because of them.
Manage your expectations
Too often, we set out to cook the perfect Thanksgiving feast, prepare the perfect turkey, and impress all our loved ones when we serve that homemade blueberry pie. Expecting perfection from yourself is more than enough to put too much pressure on your mental health.
You should try to use the holidays to replenish your energy resources, not deplete them. Good, healthy food on the table, imperfect as it is, can be a great way to bond with your closest family and friends. Also, remember that your relationships and the quality of those bonds don’t depend on the holidays, so don’t add more pressure on yourself thinking that everyone else around you expects pure perfection and nothing less!
Take up some soothing activities
In the best of times, stress finds a way to sneak into our lives. Naturally, it’s not about completely eliminating stress or triggers that lead to anxiety, it’s more about enabling yourself to become more resilient to those triggers and to find ways to manage stress more easily when it does occur.
For example, introducing calming activities such as mindful breathing and meditation into your daily schedule can help you reduce anxiety during the holidays. Treat yourself to a soothing bubble bath with scented candles. Take some alone time to read a book and relax. Unwinding like this can have a tremendous impact on how you feel during the rest of the day.
Don’t let stress hamper your immunity
The strength of your immune system depends heavily on your stress levels and hormonal balance. Naturally, in the midst of the flu season, the pandemic, and the holidays all wrapped in one, your immune system might take a hit. Taking precautions is the best way to prevent putting your body and mind into an overdrive.
You can prevent and treat adrenal fatigue caused by too much stress and cortisol with a vitamin and mineral boost. Staying resilient during these challenging times will help you manage any kind of stress more easily and help you recover faster no matter what happens.
Learn when to step back
Sometimes, we go beyond what’s healthy for us to please others. Maybe you’re spending too much on presents or the holiday dinner, only to feel stressed about your finances for months afterward. Perhaps you accept more lunch invitations than you can enjoy or realistically add to your schedule.
Saying no is one of those holiday habits we all need to take more seriously. It’s healthy for you to step back and reevaluate the situation to see how much you can actually invest, both in terms of time and funds, into any holiday activity.
It’s so easy to get lost in all the delightful treats we buy or make ourselves during the holidays. Is there anything sweeter than homemade pumpkin pie or donuts shared with your little ones? Not to mention the Halloween sweet frenzy and the New Year’s desserts. All that can lead to developing or regressing to your old dietary habits that might affect your health.
The sugar rush might make you feel good at first. But you already know that this transient state only leads to less energy later on. That’s why being more mindful of how and what you eat during the holidays can help you curb stress and major mood changes caused by too much sugar.
While there’s no such thing as a perfect holiday, we can still enjoy our time with the people we love and the time we spend on our own. With significantly less stress to dampen your spirits, you can savor this holiday season in all of its glory. If you’re still experiencing anxiety and stress in your everyday life despite your best efforts, you can schedule an appointment with a functional medicine expert – asking for help is often the healthiest thing you can do for yourself, especially during the holidays.