Mental wellness tips for the holidays

The holiday season is a busy time for most people. There is so much to do and plan for, which can bring up feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious, stressed or depressed. Incorporate the below tips to have a more balanced holiday season:

1. Budget
There are many expenses during the holidays. Whether you are spending money on gifts, food or travel, you may overextend yourself. Be sure to plan your budget in advance of the holiday season and consider hosting a secret santa so you purchase fewer gifts.

2. Family
Families don’t always get along; family members may push boundaries and you may feel obligated to do things that you don’t want to do. Try to set boundaries with your family and communicate with them.

3. Overindulging
During the winter months, our activity levels slow down and there are many opportunities to consume rich food and alcohol, which can lead to feelings of guilt or shame. When you plan your holiday schedule, allow yourself opportunities to get active.

4. Taking on too much
You may have over-committed yourself during the holiday season. Make a list and prioritize the important activities and let others share the responsibilities of holiday tasks.

5. Loneliness and isolation
Loneliness and isolation can be a concern for many people during the holidays. Consider picking up a winter hobby or joining a group to give you planned interactions. You could also volunteer with a local non-profit.

6. Loss
The holidays can be a reminder of the loss of a loved one. Acknowledge that this holiday season won’t be the same and try to view it as an opportunity to create new traditions as a way to keep your loved one’s memory alive.

7. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. The symptoms include tiredness, depression, mood changes, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, insomnia, decreased interest in activities and overeating. Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (photo therapy), psychotherapy and medications. Speak to a mental health professional in your community about the options available to you.

8. Year-end reflection
As the year comes to a close, many of us are reflecting on what has changed or stayed the same. It is important to be grateful and gentle with yourself and take stock of things that are going well, or that you have done well.

Information adapted from