The holidays can be a trying time of the year for some more than others. While some are jolly, admiring the lights, sales, and get-together, others are dreading the thought of the season even approaching. The end of the year holiday season with its shorter days, cooler weather, and past traumas trigger an uncomfortable reality more so in this time of year than in the months prior.
Because this time of year is so difficult, it’s important to prioritize your mental health. Prioritizing your mental health means asking yourself important questions, navigating the best tactics to stay mentally stable, and embracing boundaries especially in the presence of toxic family and none family members and spaces that trigger your mental health.
Questions to Ask Yourself
What are some questions you can ask yourself when the holiday season approaches?
- What does this holiday season mean for me?
- Where are “safe spaces” I can go to manage difficult mental health moments?
- Who can I talk to or confide in when things get difficult?
- What are my triggers and how can I either avoid or approach difficult situations without feeling overwhelmed?
- What are my go-to mental health self-help strategies in family functions?
These questions can be helpful during the holiday season as well as before and after. Prioritize your mental health by being critical and observant of the spaces, people, and things around you.
Self-care Tactics to Try
While we ask ourselves critical questions, we can also prepare for the holiday season with these self-care tactics.
Creating a mental health playlist.
Music is therapeutic and can be a haven for the moments where you feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed. Compile all the songs that help you to cope and make an amazing playlist. This playlist will be available to you when you want to escape or even drown out the noise you may feel around you.
Working on a creative project.
Creativity is my best friend and a great strategy for managing mental health, especially during the holidays. While others are stressing over gifts or finances for gifts, you can simply create something. Whether it’s digital or physical, creating something can give you daily tasks and keep you busy during the holidays.
I tend to write articles, create poems or notes, make posters, create quotes, or work on improving my blog when I want to drown out noise around me during the holidays.
Utilizing the Word “No”
Although the holidays may seem all jolly filled with positivity and joy, for some it is not. In order to remain calm and feel peace during this time of year, it’s okay to respectfully say no to plans or people. You do not owe your time to anyone. Prioritize your mental health by putting your needs first.
Making yourself a mental health first aid kit.
I like to write during my times of distress, therefore I always have my phone handy with my 5 writing apps if I need to jot something down. I also use Altoids mints to ease my nausea when I feel most anxious. My headphones are my third must-have in my first aid kit when I travel alone and feel anxious or depressed.
Whatever you need that helps you the most when you are away from your “safe space” is what you will have in your mental health first aid. Whether that’s a stress ball, a notebook, a sketch pad, your favorite stuffed animal, headphones, a fidget spinner, other sensory toys, or even a bottle of water, your first aid kit will be there with you when you need it most.
Know and understand your needs during the stressful and overwhelming times of the holiday season. What are the best ways you can take care of yourself that will aid in your mental health journey? Prioritize and ask for help if you need to. Put yourself first. We can all get past this holiday season.
Nina is a Latina from Brooklyn, NY who struggles with depression and anxiety. She finds refuge and healing through her writing since she graduated from college in 2016. Nina writes to spread awareness and hope to those who struggle with their mental health silently. She also strives to motivate and encourage self-acceptance. She enjoys creating creative and uplifting content on her blog SparklyWarTanks.com where she shares her experiences, notes, poems, quotes, and articles