If it isn’t enough that Covid is resurgent, you may have noticed that the holiday season is here.
Coping with stress during the holidays is more important than ever. And while the potential harm from Covid has made people generally more cautious about their physical health, ensuring that your mental well-being is looked after is equally important.
With that in mind, here are five simple behaviors that can improve your mental health this holiday season.
Watch your holiday budget
Online shopping is simple and can become addictive. It is wonderful to have the convenience of paying quickly and having gifts shipped online. But getting an enormous credit card bill after the holidays is stressful and can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety.
The key to not overspending is to write out a budget and commit to it. Cross off gifts as they are purchased and hold yourself accountable for not exceeding your budget.
Protect yourself from negative interactions with friends and family
Did you know that there is a lot of science around developing conversational strategies that can ease you through the holidays?
Adopting some simple steps like acknowledging opinions and beliefs that are contrary to your own can go a long way towards diffusing potentially uncomfortable situations. You can also coach yourself to use concepts like “hedging” that use words like “maybe” and “perhaps” to signal that you are open to opposing views.
Don’t isolate yourself if you don’t want to
Seek out community and neighborhood gatherings if you can’t travel to family during the holidays. There is no shame in letting coworkers and friends know that you are interested in getting together. Apps like nextdoor are excellent resources for finding out about neighborhood and community activities.
Reduce your holiday commitments
Another way to reduce stress during the holidays is to make sure you aren’t overextended. Too many obligations can be taxing, expensive and take a toll on your health with excessive eating and drinking. Don’t be afraid to politely decline invitations.
Try to Stay Humble and Grateful for Life Itself
And finally, another way to help you cope with the holiday season is to remember friends and family who have passed away. Whether it’s putting together a digital album or preparing some of their favorite dishes or watching a film they liked, some reflection around people who are no longer with us can help enlighten us during the season.