For many people, the holiday season is anything but joyous and exciting. 

While everyone seems to be soaking in the warm feelings and good cheer of the season, you may end up with unwelcome and unwanted guests, such as stress and depression instead. It’s no secret that mental well-being can take a hit during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a total write-off. By utilizing a handful of proven coping strategies, you can avoid many common stressors and end up enjoying yourself.

Here are five holiday coping strategies to help you make the most of the holiday season. 

1. Don’t Expect Perfection

Tempering your expectations over the holiday season can make a big difference when it comes to your mental health.

It’s not uncommon for us to have a grand vision of how things are supposed to be, only to have them turn out differently, leaving us disappointed and dejected. This is especially true if you compare each year to previous years, where things were different. But by being realistic and taking things as they come, you may find the holiday season is a lot more tolerable.

2. Take Time to Plan Ahead

It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a hurry as the holiday season approaches. 

If you often feel like you’re running around frantically trying to get everything done, it may benefit you to make a solid plan ahead of time. Even if this feels a little counterintuitive to the spirit of the season, planning things like your shopping, social activities, menus, and baking will allow you to organize everything so you’re not scrambling.

It’s also important to take some time for yourself, scheduling time to read, take walks, listen to music, or do other activities that you enjoy. 

Planning ahead helps you feel more empowered, which is beneficial to your mental wellbeing. 

3. Set Aside Your Differences

If the idea of spending time with your entire family causes you a great deal of stress, this may be a great time to set aside any grievances or differences. 

There’s no question that it can be challenging, but there’s a good chance that other members of your family are also feeling holiday-induced stress or depression. Calling a truce and setting aside your differences may help relieve stress levels for everyone.

4. Get Comfortable Saying No

Everyone wants to be generous and accommodating during the holiday season, but if you find yourself saying yes too often, it may end up hurting you in the end. 

Too many ‘yeses’ can leave you feeling bogged down and overwhelmed, taking away from what you really should be feeling. That’s not to say you should say no to everyone, but take each situation as it comes, and be honest with yourself before you commit.

5. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

A lot of people experience the winter blues, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously.

If you are honestly trying to keep your mental well-being in check during the holiday season but still find you’re having trouble coping, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re having trouble sleeping, if you find you’re irritable on a consistent basis, if you’re sad or anxious, or if you’re having even more serious issues, contact a professional to get the help you need. 

You don’t need to feel like you’re alone, and you certainly don’t need to suffer when there are people specifically trained to help.

If you’re able to take a proactive approach during the holiday season, there’s no reason you can’t move through it smoothly and possibly even enjoy yourself a little along the way. Learn to recognize your own holiday triggers, like financial pressures or family demands and address them before they lead to something more serious.

About Samaritan Counseling Center

Our Vision: Samaritan Counseling Center’s vision is to empower communities, families, and individuals in their journey to live the best version of themselves.

Our Mission: Samaritan engages all people as they are – mentally, spiritually, financially – offering evidence-based psychological care for hope, help, and healing.

Our Values: Teamwork, Client Satisfaction, Clinical Excellence, Community Engagement, Inclusiveness, Gratitude

Samaritan is accredited by The Solihten Institute.

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