Holidays can be wonderful but they can also be a huge source of stress. You may not be able to control a lot of the factors that contribute to the stress but there are a few things to do to make sure you still have a holiday season that feels good to you!
Here’s some tips for maintaining your mental health during this time of year:
1. Ensure you have some activities that you love.
Think about what would feel fantastic to you around the holidays. Who do you want to spend time with, what traditions or activities sound lovely to you? Are there local events you want to be sure not to miss? A favorite movie you want to make time for?
Make plans for the things you want in your holiday season and get it on your calendar.
Make your own traditions, host a friend’s giving, shop local businesses, or carve out some time for rest and recharging, make sure you have some of what makes you happy.
2. Learn the difference between what you feel obligated to do and what is a choice.
Folks struggle with obligations and entitlement especially from family this time of year. Being able to name where you have choices and options can be freeing and help with acceptance. You can always chose no to go to a gathering or decline an invitation. It's important to consider the consequences of each choice. Even if you chose the less desirable option to avoid a consequence, you may find it helpful just knowing that you did have some control.
For example how does it feel to say “I could choose not to see my family this holiday but I am choosing to go”. Acknowledging how you feel about a situation is similar. Affirming to yourself “It’s stressful for me to be around my argumentative aunt” can help.
Validating yourself can go a long way.
Here's hoping you find ways to make your holidays your own. If you find you need more support, it's a great time to connect with a therapist. To see who has openings here at Virago, check out our team page.