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Kathy Beazley
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Holiday depression_Photo courtesy of NAMI North Te

The holiday season is often a time of joy and celebration, but for many, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. The pressure to meet family expectations, the financial strain of gift-giving, and the frenetic pace of holiday preparations can take a toll on your mental health. To ensure you have a happy and healthy holiday season, consider these seven tips for managing your mental health during the holidays.

1. Set Realistic Expectations: One of the biggest stressors during the holidays is the pressure to make everything perfect. It's essential to recognize that perfection is unattainable. Set realistic expectations for yourself, your family, and your celebrations. Remember that the holidays are about spending quality time with loved ones, not about creating a flawless event.

2. Plan and Budget Ahead: Financial stress can be a significant contributor to holiday-related anxiety. Create a budget for your holiday spending and stick to it. Planning your expenses in advance can help you avoid financial strain and reduce the anxiety that comes with overspending.

3. Take Care of Your Physical Health: Your physical and mental health are closely connected. Make sure to eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough rest during the holiday season. Proper self-care can help you manage stress and maintain a positive mood.

4. Manage Your Time Wisely: The holiday season often comes with a busy schedule filled with parties, shopping, and various obligations. Prioritize your commitments and learn to say no when necessary. Time management can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and maintain a sense of control.

5. Seek Support and Communicate: Don't be afraid to lean on your support system during the holidays. Reach out to friends and family members when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Communication is key in addressing your emotional needs and seeking comfort.

6. Create Boundaries: It's essential to establish boundaries during the holiday season to protect your mental health. This may involve setting limits on how many events you attend, avoiding toxic family dynamics, or taking breaks when you need them. Protecting your emotional well-being should be a top priority.

7. Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care: Incorporate mindfulness techniques and self-care into your holiday routine. Taking time for yourself, even if it's just a few minutes each day, can help you stay grounded and reduce stress. Consider activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply indulging in a favorite hobby.

The holiday season can be a challenging time for mental health, but with the right strategies, you can navigate it successfully. Remember to set realistic expectations, budget wisely, prioritize self-care, and communicate with your support network. By implementing these seven tips, you can enjoy a healthier, happier holiday season and create lasting, positive memories with your loved ones.

If you are seeking support or need information on how to better manage a mental health challenge in yourself or a loved one, you are not alone. Reach out to NAMI North Texas, a chartered affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which offers outstanding peer-led programs and provides no-cost education, skills training and support in Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Rockwall counties. Visit www.naminorthtexas.org  or call 214-341-7133 for more information. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts and in need immediate of help, please call or text 988 or chat online at www.988lifeline.org.

 

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