At this time of the year, our emotions are heightened as we become busier at work and home. The holiday period tends to not only bring out the good in people, but for many of us, it can also make us feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed.
My Mind News has some handy tips to help reduce stress so you can enjoy the holiday season while looking after your mental health.
Why looking after your mental health important during the holiday season?
There is little doubt that most of us feel extra pressure to be organized and enjoy ourselves at this time of year. There is a perceived social obligation to spend time with family, indulge in good cheer, engage in additional preparation, and have high expectations to create and enjoy a ‘perfect‘ holiday experience.
According to Statista Research, 60% of UK respondents agree that they look forward to the festive season. However, 39% agreed that Christmas makes them worry about their financial situation, and 34% see this as the most stressful time of the year.
This concurs with research carried out by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, which asked many parents about stress levels around the holidays.
Nearly all parents agreed that this was a happy time of the year, although 18% confirmed that they suffered high-stress levels during this period. Mothers had twice as much stress as fathers, and 37% of parents agreed they felt relieved when their kids returned to school after the holidays.
Given what we know regarding how the holiday period can affect both us and our emotions, here are five tips to help you reduce stress levels and help you look forward to and enjoy the holiday season –
1. Feel your emotions
Intentionally acknowledge all the emotions you are feeling and label them. Recognize and make time to feel the sensations. Do not suppress them.
Suppressing emotions can have a negative impact on those around you but, significantly, on you as well. Research has shown that suppressing emotions is likely to cause long-term health complications. If it helps, write down how you feel in a journal and decide how you want to deal with these emotions when you are ready to.
2. Take a deep breath
Remember to step away from stressful situations and take a deep breath when required. So much research tells us that this is one of the best ways to help us feel grounded again. Breathing can be a natural way of alleviating mental pressure, allowing us to take time out and regain a sense of calm.
3. Self-compassion and gratitude
Frequently reminding ourselves that we are doing our best will prevent us from shaming ourselves when things are not meeting our expectations or have not gone to plan.
Keep your inner critic under control, and do not allow it to shame you. Speak to yourself as you would a friend with kind words and affirmations. Try to find the positives in every situation. Remind yourself that there is so much to be grateful for.
4. Be proactive and ask for help
Contact your friends or family if you feel lonely and plan some activities. Be proactive and honest with yourself and your friends. If you feel overwhelmed with the many items that need to be organized, permit yourself to ask for help.
No one person is superhuman, and after all, the holiday season is built on the foundations of helping, generosity, and being there for each other.
5. Take a break from social media
It is crucial to limit or take a break from social media. Social Media drives comparison to what others are doing, which may expose you to a compare and despair cycle, which can lead to self-sabotage and feelings of jealousy or judgment.
If you can’t take a break from social media, set firm boundaries and be mindful of your time engaging with it. Perhaps swap your time on social media for a walk in nature. This will increase your dopamine levels which will help to foster positive emotions.
Have a happy holiday season
While appreciating that the next few weeks may present additional pressures on already busy lives, we are compelled to look after ourselves in the first instance.
Doing so allows us to relax and open ourselves up to enjoying the forthcoming holiday season without feeling overwhelmed.
My Mind News would love to know other ways our readers manage their stress levels at this time of year. Do let us know in the comments section below.