While the holidays can bring lots of joy and cheer, for many people they can be rather taxing on mental health. There’s the overwhelming list of things to do, including everything from hosting a party to traveling, buying gifts, attending family gatherings, working and perhaps taking care of the kids.
If you’d like to preserve your mental health this holiday season, consider these 12 ways you can do just that.
Don’t try to do too much. Over-scheduling yourself leads to stress, and too much stress is bad for your body and your mind. Remember that you don’t have to feel obligated to accept every invitation or do everything on your to-do list; look it over a second or even a third time and cross out anything that isn’t absolutely necessary.
Take a moment to breathe. Taking a breathing break every once in a while, when you feel anxious and when you don’t, will help you feel more calm and even boost your energy level. It also helps you to get back to the present, letting go of worries and stress.
Quiet your inner critic. Don’t listen to that voice inside your head that is telling you you’re lazy, weak, unattractive or unlovable. Replace those negative messages with positive ones instead.
Adjust your expectations. If you set your expectations too high, for yourself or for others, you’re more likely to feel disappointed. Keep in mind that not everything will go exactly like you planned, and that’s okay.
Take time for yourself. Schedule some me time, whether it’s exercise, reading a good book or watching trashy TV. It’s okay to be self-indulgent – everyone needs a little bit of that now and again, especially during the holiday season.
Eat healthy. Choosing nutritious foods over processed junk is a great way preserve your mental health, as they’ll provide you with the fuel you need to get all those tasks done, without weighing you down and leaving your mind in a fog.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your body and your mind. Research has found that it’s just as effective, or even more so, than antidepressant or anti-anxiety meds.
Practice restorative yoga. When you get home after a long day, do a restorative yoga pose to help you get re-energized and rejuvenated. Any time you feel like you need to recharge, yoga can do the trick.
Remember to laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. It’s powerfully healing and just as important as eating lots of healthy foods and getting regular exercise.
Avoid overindulging in anything. Yes, take your me-time and indulge a little, but moderation is key when it comes to alcohol as well as sweets.
Get plenty of quality rest. Sleep is something that really shouldn’t be skimped on when time is tight. Try to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible. One way to make this easier is to go to bed at about the same time each night.
Be grateful. Remember what you have, instead of what you don’t have. It helps to put everything into perspective and can even improve your mood. You might even write a list of everything you’re grateful for, including all the little things along with the bigger things – from a hot cup of coffee on a chilly morning to family, friends and pets.
This year, make it a happy, joyous season so that you can go into 2015 feeling great about your life!
-The Alternative Daily