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Mental Health

Survival Guide for Mentally Coping During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is chalk full of cheer, but it can also be a season of stress. Having to attend various social gatherings and family events, there are many things that can be triggering during this season. The holiday season is a time for reconnecting with family and friends by sharing our love and gratitude with them. However, family members, while we love them deeply, can of stir overwhelming stress. 

If you’re feeling the weight of the stress of the season, here are a few tips to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the holidays!

Set Positive Intention

While the holidays can be stressful, don’t let your cluttered and tired mind consume what should be a wondrous and happy time. Set intention to stay calm and happy, what can you look forward too? If nothing is popping in mind, organize some things you can look forward to ensure some self-love time of your own! 

If the idea of stress is what is overwhelming, replace the idea of needing to reduce said stress into ways you can replace the stress. This could be going on a walk with your mom, going to ice cream with your dad, having a family game night, or just going out on your own. Think of things that will make you happy and put your heart and mind at ease.

Minimize Your Time with Family

We tend of have this idea that extended family should all stay close together for days on end, there is no breaks from one another which increases the amount of stress around trying to get along with everyone hour after hour, day after day. In all reality, that scenario can be a little daunting and can get very stressful very fast. The solution? Know your limits, draw yourself out of the crowd when you began to feel easily angered or triggered and retreat for time alone.

Set Boundaries and Manage Expectations

Boundaries are an essential part of your self-care kit. If there is an ongoing strife between you and a loved one, reach out and see how you can solve the situation. Is there things going on in your life that doesn’t need to be a real life Jeopardy session with your whole family? Call your parents or siblings in advance about topics that aren’t dinner appropriate. Bottom line: set your boundaries while also letting your family members know that your intention is to enjoy your time with them, and if things still get heated, give yourself permission to take a time-out.

Take a Self-Compassion Break

When things get rough at home, allow yourself a self-compassion break. This can be done during a heated conversation, stressful environment in the kitchen, or watching all twenty cousins at once, honestly anytime you’re feeling particularly anxious and overwhelmed. 

Notice the situation is hard, it’s a difficult moment. Remember you’re not the only one in having a family who pushes your buttons. Extend some compassion and kindness onto yourself, focus on just getting through the day and enjoying the happy moments. 

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself mentally and physically is key during the holidays. Practicing self-care, eating well, drinking lots of water, and getting enough sleep can help reduce stress during a rather particularly rigorous time. Engage in activities that feel restorative to you.

sarai kelley

Arizona '20

My name is Sarai Kelley and I am a 19 year old professional concert photographer of four years. I'm from sunny San Diego, CA but moved to Phoenix, Arizona to pursue a career in psychology at Grand Canyon University; where I am now a senior in the midst of applying to graduate school to earn my doctorate!
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