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5 Strategies for Healthy Holidays

By    |   Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 09:56 AM

The holiday season is perhaps the time of year when we are most likely to suffer mental stress. Here are five ways to stay emotionally strong:

1. Stay connected.
 
Loners generally don’t do well in life — they have shorter life expectancies and greater risks for a variety of illnesses, both mental and physical. Even though you may not be in the mood for all the festivities, you run the risk of feeling lonely and blue if you stick to yourself during the holidays.
 
If you have recently lost a loved one, it is especially important not to isolate yourself during the holiday season.
 
2. Talk about your feelings.
 
Don’t hesitate to share both positive and negative feelings with people you trust. Just because television ads show everyone in a great mood during the season, that doesn’t mean your usual worries and concerns will simply disappear.
 
Talking about them will not only relieve your burden, but will likely relieve the burden of your friends and family members, who will also be more inclined to share their concerns with you.
 
3. Avoid toxic friends and relatives.
 
Sometimes we feel obligated to see people we don’t particularly care for during the holidays. However, to preserve your own mind health it may be best to avoid those individuals during this emotionally charged time of year.
 
Remember, holiday party invitations are not subpoenas — you can pick and choose which ones you accept.
 
In addition, sometimes we remain in unhealthy relationships out of habit or from a sense of obligation during the holidays. The negativity that can arise from a toxic relationship may have been going on for so long that we don’t even realize we can unburden ourselves from those feelings by distancing ourselves from the person.
 
Once we change the relationship, the stress reduction alone can go a long way toward improving the quality of our lives and the enjoyment of the holidays.
 
4. Have realistic expectations.
 
Someone once said that New Year’s Eve was like all the worst Saturday nights of the year rolled into one evening. That person likely had unrealistic expectations about the holiday. He or she may have felt obligated to have a great time.
 
Some people think there must be something wrong with them if they don’t have a spectacular holiday season. The commercialism of the holidays certainly seems to feed this unhealthy attitude.
 
As in most situations, if we set our expectations too high, we are often disappointed. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to have a great time and you may find that your experience pleasantly exceeds your expectations.
 
5. Stick to a reasonable budget.

Many people feel the pressure of gift-giving during the Christmas season. If you’re on a tight budget, you may worry that you’ll let down people you care about. Planning ahead can give you a greater sense of financial control.
 
Make a list of who you want to give gifts to, and figure out your budget ahead of time. Look for sales throughout the year, and buy your gifts well in advance of the season.
 
Also consider homemade gifts or goodies instead of extravagant presents. Your friends and family will appreciate the thoughtfulness of a personalized gift more than a high-priced item.
 


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The holiday season is perhaps the time of year when we are most likely to suffer mental stress. Here are five ways to stay emotionally strong: 1. Stay connected. Loners generally don't do well in life - they have shorter life expectancies and greater risks for a variety of...
holidays, stress, emotions, psychiatrist
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2014-56-18
Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 09:56 AM
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