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Mental Health Self-Care Tips for the Upcoming Holiday Season

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The holidays are meant to be the happiest time of the year. But what happens when the holidays are a trigger for you? Unrealistic expectations of happiness, financial troubles, excessive food consumptions… there are tons of reason the holidays might not be your favorite time of the year. And that is OK.

Holidays are known in the mental health community as a very triggering season, and some people have mental health crises during this time. From dealing with family members that may not understand mental health and mental illness to recovering from alcohol abuse, the holidays can seem unbearable.

Here are some simple tips to help ease some stress that come along with the up coming season:

1. Your expectations.

Nothing is perfect, including the holidays. So try not to stress on the small things. If you try to make the holidays the absolute best thing ever, I think you will always fall short.

2. Use your support system.

Use your support system, whether that be friends, family or health care providers. Reach out to your support system and attempt to address any issues surrounding the holidays. Do not feel ashamed of reaching out. The holidays can be very common trigger for many people with mental illness.

3. Try something different.

Perhaps sitting down and eating dinners and exchanging gifts is the worst part of your year. Why not try something different this year? Going to a family/friend movie night or a bowling night. Although a lot of people love sticking to their traditions making the suggestion to try something else might just be enough to encourage them to try it!

4. Remember self-care and time to yourself.

Although you may be doing a lot of running around this season remember to take time for yourself as well. In the season of giving it’s easy to forget about self care, so try to run yourself a nice bath, getting your nails done or watch your favorite show. Whatever it might be, just remember your mental health comes first!

5. Plan ahead.

Planning ahead and scheduling in advance can help relieve any stress about how you will be able to do everything. Try to work around schedules and remember to keep your own person schedule in mind. For some, daily schedules are very important and need a big consideration when planning ahead.

6. Keep your spending modest.

Remember, it’s the thought that counts. You do not need to buy the most expensive gifts for everyone on your list. Just because it cost a lot does not mean it is the best gift you can find. Keep an open mind when gift giving. Make a budget before shopping so you can still pay all bills and expenses when the season ends.

7. Sleep.

Remember to sleep. Sleeping is extremely important and needed during the holiday season! Having multiple late nights out during the season will not help you one bit.

8. Alcohol.

The holidays seem to push this idea that in order to be jolly you need to celebrate by eating and drinking. Well, that’s false. Especially for people with addiction, the holidays may seem very horrifying. Avoid any situations that may encourage the use of alcohol. Insure you have a safety net and support around you. And always ask for help if needed.

Take it easy this upcoming holiday and remember to keep your mental health as your top priority. Being healthy comes first! Try making your own list of personal tips and tricks to keep by your side for future reference.

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Getty Images photo via Viktor_Gladkov

Originally published: November 25, 2017
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