Can you hide in a cave until January 2? If the holidays mean nothing but stress, you might feel tempted.
However, most people don’t have the luxury of skipping office parties and family gatherings. Others battle feelings of isolation and despair. How can you manage your mental well-being amid the holiday madness? Here are eight tips that can help.
1. Develop a Mantra
It’s challenging enough when you have to rush from work to daycare to your child’s soccer match. Now, folks expect you to shop like a Kardashian and cook like Bobby Flay on top of it all? How many hours do they think you have in a day?
When feelings of being overwhelmed threaten to turn into anxiety, a calming mantra can help break the negative thought spiral. When it all seems too much, “It’s only a paper tiger,” or “This, too, shall pass,” comes in handy. Keep repeating it until you believe it.
2. Say “No” to the Sauce
A drink is precisely what the doctor ordered amid all the holiday stress, right? In reality, most physicians would tell you to lay off the sauce. It messes with your brain’s neurotransmitters, and while it might ease anxiety temporarily, the condition comes roaring back with a vengeance. Like a greedy 2-year-old, alcohol keeps demanding more and more to produce relaxing effects.
Instead, focus on staying sober one day at a time — the thought of surviving the entire season without eggnog could prove self-defeating. If you are on the recovery path, find meetings before traveling to visit relatives and learn that it’s okay to leave the party early.
3. Move Your Body
Your mental and physical well-being share an intricate link. By taking care of your body, you can ease your mind.
Exercise is one of the wisest ways to ease stress, so get in the habit now before the madness begins. It doesn’t matter if you dance, walk, or jog — any physical activity produces feel-good endorphins that help combat stress.
4. Moderate Your Eating
If you use the holidays as an excuse to eat nothing but junk, you only add to your stress load. It’s far easier to keep unwanted pounds from creeping on than to try to shed them later.
That doesn’t mean you need to forego your grandmother’s Dutch apple pie — but do stick to one serving. Practice making little exchanges, too. If you know you want to gorge yourself at dinner, have a light breakfast and lunch.
5. Use a Little PTO
During a pandemic, it’s probably wise to save as much of your paid time off as possible. You never know when you might need to quarantine, and you don’t want doing so to make you short on rent.
However, it’s okay to take a little time off here and there. It might make you more productive to take a half-day or a long weekend. Even taking a lunch break instead of eating at your desk can help you defeat the afternoon slump.
6. Lean on Your Support System
Who said that you have to buy every gift and bake every cookie yourself? Unless your loved ones suffered multiple fractures, they could help you with the required chores.
Turn it into a game instead of a burden. You can have a bake-off to see who creates the tastiest cookies. Alternatively, break out the Jenga — the one who topples the tower has to clean the bathroom!
7. Learn When to Say “No”
Did Congress pass a law stating that you have to RSVP “yes” to every holiday invitation? Until they do, it’s okay to keep your plate pared down to manageable portions.
On the business end, you do want to show up at the office bash or Zoom call. On the personal side, why not coordinate with your relatives and have one combination event instead of a series of smaller ones? You ease the burden on everyone while still spreading holiday cheer with all the folks you love.
8. Take 30 Minutes for Yourself
While it may seem impossible, please do try to take 30 minutes for yourself each day. Schedule it into your planner — you won’t risk tumbling into bed before taking a few moments to breathe and reflect.
Make self-care part of your nightly wind-down ritual to help you sleep more soundly. Unwind in a hot bath with a novel. Practice a few minutes of yoga or listen to an uplifting guided meditation to ease you into dreamland and program your brain with encouraging messages.
Manage Your Mental Well-Being Amid the Holiday Madness With These Tips
It’s challenging to care for your mental health amid the holiday madness. Use these eight tips to keep yourself centered and grounded.
About the Author: Mia Barnes is a health and wellness writer with an interest in mental well-being and growth. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind.
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.
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