Top 10 Ways To Maintain Good Mental Health During the Holiday Season

Holidays are stressful for everyone and can be emotionally painful for many. They can be triggers for mental health crises. While often enjoyable, some holiday events may represent a mental health threat to you.

In this Mental Health Guide we suggest 10 tips that may help you get the best from the holidays while reducing the risk of a mental health crisis.

How to Maintain Your Mental Health During the Holidays and Beyond

Reduce stress: Holiday shopping in crowded stores, attending concerts and activities in crowded venues, family gatherings and the general busyness of the season are incredibly stressful, and stress is a trigger. Do less this holiday season. Select a few meaningful events and gatherings with supportive family and friends. Politely decline those you think will produce more stress disorders than you want.

Continue therapy: Don’t skip your counseling session just because things are busy. Most mental health professionals maintain their appointment schedules in November and December because they know their help is essential during this period.

Keep taking your medication: If you’re on a prescription to help with your mental health, don’t stop taking it. For example, the holidays can make anyone feel exhilarated, and that can be a trigger for someone with bipolar disorder to quit taking medication. This is not a good idea for anyone on medication for their mental well-being.

Serve others: Find community service projects to get involved with. Invite family or friends to join you. The positive feelings you receive while helping others are good for your mental health.

Be open with supportive family members and close friends: Talking about your struggles tends to put them in perspective. When you bottle up what’s going on, the issues can seem far more overwhelming.

Eat right: The holidays represent some real challenges in terms of food; especially for those that suffer from eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia. Don’t overdo it on food if it will make you feel bad about yourself. Enjoy holiday treats, but in moderate amounts. When you win the food challenge, your self-esteem will get a positive boost. To help you stay in check during the holidays, our helpful guide, “How To Avoid Eating Disorders During The Holidays“, might be of some help.

Exercise regularly: Exercise is great for mental health. If you have any concerns about the safety of exercising, consult your doctor for advice on what types of exercise are right for you.

Laugh: Spend time with friends you know will make you laugh and boost your spirits. Attend a comedy club or concert. Rent funny movies. Laughter is good tonic.

Avoid the use or abuse of alcohol and drugs: You know what’s best for you, and if drinking is bad for your mental health, avoid it. Same with using illegal drugs or abusing legal drugs. Many individuals with mental disorders also suffer from substance abuse issues. Do what you need to do in order to becoming one of them, and consider entering rehab if you already have substance abuse issues.

Know what you’ll do if you have a mental health crisis: Have a plan. It may include talking with a therapist or it might mean entering a hospital. You know yourself and what is best for you. Be prepared to do what you need to do in order to take care of yourself.