The holidays can be wonderful, but they can also be incredibly stressful. A busy schedule can mean putting aside your own well being in favor of completing tasks, but neglecting your mind, body, or emotional state can make your day-to-day feel like you are dredging through mud.
To make sure that you make it through the holiday season safely, we have complied some tips on easy ways to keep yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy.
Taking care of yourself mentally ensures that your way of thinking stays clear, which will help lead to better choices being made all around. Here are some holiday tips to taking care of yourself on a mental scale:
Set Realistic Expectations: Dreaming big during the holidays is great for a movie character, but unrealistic expectations can make your holiday season lackluster, to say the least. A great way to keep yourself in good mental standing is to set realistic expectations for what you might experience with family, friends, food, and the events that come in between.
While these expectations can vary by the minute, having a realistic idea of what will be happening will keep you mentally prepared during stressful moments. If you expect things to be less than happy, do what you can to address that expectation, such as changing an event, a guest list, or preparing others of expectations beforehand to nip issues in the bud.
Let There Be Light: Going outside is vital during the holiday and winter seasons. Whether your house is packed to the brim with guests or you are enjoying some peace and quiet this season, you are still at risk of a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This disorder is related to seasonal changes, usually triggering as the days become shorter and colder. SAD causes sluggish feelings, feelings of guilt or hopelessness, a lack of interest in activities you once looked forward to, and more.
One of the best ways to combat SAD is with light therapy. Light therapy “compensates for the lack of exposure to sunlight that may contribute to major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns“. Whether it is ensuring that you spend time outside during the day or buying a light box or a sun lamp, be sure to introduce more light into your house as a preventative and supportive measure.
Emotional health is the mid point between mental and physical health, as it is the physical expression of your thoughts. Finding the right way to express yourself during stressful times can be complicated so follow these tips to get started:
Set Clear Boundaries: Whether it is with in-laws, significant others, family, or others, boundaries are an absolute necessity. Boundaries help to set the stage for you to achieve the aforementioned realistic expectations. Boundary conversations should be clear and concise to avoid miscommunication, but they do not need to be abrupt or awkward.
Invitations with dress codes, schedules, or sign-up sheets are a great way to stay coordinated with others without creating a difficult situation. As items like these are usually sent out in advance, they can also make great conversation starters that provide an easy way to talk about boundaries.
Forgive Yourself: There is going to be something during this season that does not go perfectly to plan. It could be something small or something life changing, but plans rarely go off without a hitch. Holiday seasons are about those we care about, spreading good wishes and providing acts of kindness, so take time to make sure that you care for yourself in the same way you might provide care for others. Forgiving yourself is a way to move forward past a mistake or obstacle and, instead, enjoy what is happening around you.
Physical health is a bit more surface level than emotional or mental health, but feeds back into them all the same. A healthy body encourages a healthy mind and healthy emotions, so check out our guide for some tips on keeping a healthy physical lifestyle:
Stay Active and Eat Right: Whether this means going for a run, lifting weights, or playing in the yard, you need to be sure to stay active during the holiday season. Often, candies and heavier foods are a daily staple of the holidays, so counter those with regular exercise to ensure that your body stays in tip-top shape, no matter what is on your plate.
That being said, try to keep to a balanced diet with regular meals. Three meals a day with snacks and appropriate portions will go a long way to allowing you to enjoy your food without regret later on.
Walk Away: We invite stressful elements into our house during the holidays. These stressors vary from physical messes to verbal wars. While standing your ground might feel like the right choice in the moment, it pays to keep in mind that walking away is always an option. Walking away can end a bad situation, or at least put it on pause so it can be addressed when cooler heads prevail.
If you are looking to help others physically, mentally, or emotionally as a provider, then check out our job page to see what we have available. If you are looking for something different than what you see on the job page, then you can submit your resume directly and we will connect you with a dedicated recruiter.