Do you have a ‘to-do’ list that feels a mile long? Or feel the pressure of unrealistically high expectations? This time of year can be particularly overwhelming, especially for individuals living with a mental health condition. Here are some tips to keep in mind for coping with the holiday season.
- Maintain a healthy routine & practice self-care
Try as much as possible to maintain healthy routines like sleeping, eating regular meals, exercising, and attending any groups and appointments during the holiday season. Time can feel scarce when your schedule tightens up with all of the ‘extra’ tasks you have to complete in time for the holidays, but sacrificing these important parts of your routine is a recipe for burnout.
- Do one thing at a time
Don’t let our ‘multitasking culture’ fool you into thinking you have to do several things at once all the time. Whether you’re working through a hefty to-do list or simply going out for a walk to enjoy the brisk, fresh winter air, focus on the activity at hand. Take in all the sights, sounds, and smells you encounter, and resist the urge to check your phone or add to your mental to-do list. Simply be mindful and enjoy the moment.
- Don’t minimize your feelings
Rather than trying to distract yourself or ignore your feelings, take the time to listen to them. Share your feelings with people you care about. If you’re in crisis and need to speak with a mental health professional during the holidays, call COAST (1-866-550-5205).
Check out our previous post for more information about which services will be impacted by the statutory holidays here.
- Set boundaries and manage expectations
Don’t take on more than you can reasonably handle. It’s important to know when to say no, and to understand that you can say no. Whether it’s social or financial, don’t feel like you have to “keep up” with the commercialization of the season.
Instead, find other ways to have meaning. Examine your values and think about what you want to achieve from the holidays. Look at what you can realistically manage and work on putting those goals into action. Just remember to set realistic boundaries with your time, money, diet (such as overeating or drinking), etc. that work for you.
- Find supports
Don’t isolate yourself during the holidays. It’s okay if you need some distance or time alone to recharge or get away from negative situations, but it’s also important to stay connected with your support system. Whether that includes family, friends, or individuals from an organized support group through a community agency, your supports can help you cope.Looking for additional mental health tips or interested in more information about a specific mental health issue? We have a variety of brochures available for download.
In crisis? CONTACT COAST 1-866-550-5205 (ext. 1), 24 hours a day 7 days a week
If you, a family member, or friend is in need, give us a call on our toll-free number. A member of our supportive, trained staff will provide immediate support and guidance.
Depending on your unique needs and preferences, we may connect you with a member of our collaborating network, which consists of 16 fully-vetted services so you can receive more specialized assistance. If we do transfer you to a member of our network, we will follow up to make sure you or your loved one has received the appropriate care.