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4 Strategies for Managing Your Mental Health This Holiday Season and Beyond

As we race through this holiday season, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with everything going on. I know between managing bipolar symptoms, life and the added holiday stress, I have to put in a conscious effort to stay at my best. Which is why I thought I’d share my strategy for living my best life. I call it my “MOST” strategy because I focus on four areas:

M: Medications, Mindfulness and Meditation.

I start out with the coping skills that get me through the mania and depression. Things like medications, mindfulness and meditation. Whatever I’ve got in my routine that helps me manage my moods, I’m going to make sure I focus on.

O: Offline and Outside.

I make a point to have “offline” hours — I go outside, read a book or meet up with a friend in person and get off the internet. I understand I need to smell the fresh air (and maybe play in some snow!) for my own sanity, so I prioritize it. This is the time of year I see a lot of “bipolar weather” and “crazy neighbor” posts on social media, so reminding myself it’s OK to take a break is a good thing.

S: Support.

Next, I need a good support system and stability — having a person who understands and empathizes with my disorder, who checks up on me. It’s also important to have a sense of whether or not I can “weather the storm.” If I need to cancel, I do so. Being able to recognize when I’m in need of a little extra support is something I might not enjoy asking for, but I always appreciate it.

T: Therapeutic Interventions.

The most basic, most important things are regular habits: eating healthy, exercise and drinking water. These are the things that keep you functional and going. This also includes access to therapy and therapeutic interventions. If I need to schedule an extra appointment or two or use a therapy app, then that’s what I’m going to do.

And that’s pretty much it. Like I said, super simple. I wanted a quick and dirty checklist I could use to prepare for and cope with whatever was going on during the season. And what better way to do that than being reminded by the radio “It’s the ‘MOST’ wonderful time of the year,” after all!

I also could have included things like setting boundaries, recovery days (introverted days) and some holiday-themed things, but I wanted something I could remember year-round, not just for this month.

Meditation, Offline, Support and Therapeutic Interventions are the ways I get the “MOST” out of my life.

Getty image by Roi and Roi