What To Do When The Holidays Are Not So Cheery

Maggie Roney LPC

The holidays are usually considered the most joyous time of the year, but, unfortunately, that does not tend to be the case for everyone. Despite the festive Christmas tree decorations and having loved ones surrounding you, it tends to be difficult for many people. While people are focused on celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year during this time, others are dealing with holiday-related anxiety, stress, and depression. There tends to be a spike in mental health issues during the holiday, and with financial pressure and unrealistic expectations, anxiety can be waiting just around the corner for many of us. 

So if you’re struggling to find happiness during the holiday, there is hope! There are ways that you can still enjoy your holidays!

If you are unsure of how to reduce the seasonal stress, then read further because, in this article, we will go over how stress affects you, ways that you can cope with holiday stress, and how neurofeedback can help with cheeriness this holiday season. 

How Stress Affects You 

As humans, we live fast-paced, stressful lives that seem never to slow down. Our increasingly busy lives hardly give us time to breathe, and when the holiday season arrives, our to-do list only continues to grow. The holiday season includes baking, entertaining, cooking, and decorating, enough to give anyone anxiety. 

Although many of us know stress is not good for us, we need to be aware of the long-term consequences on mental and physical health. Physical signs of stress can include headaches, stomachaches, and teeth grinding, amongst other things. To stay mentally and physically healthy, check out a ways to cope. 

Creative Ways to Cope with Holiday Stress

Eat Healthy

Trust me, I know how tempting it is to partake in the range of sugar cookies and sweets that flood the tables during the holiday season. However, even though it can be tempting, the best thing you can do for your mental health during the holidays is to prioritize your diet

Many studies have proven that eating healthy can improve our mental health, and during the holidays, we must take care of your body to be able to care for our mind effectively. Studies have shown that eating unhealthy and having too much of certain foods or drinks can cause anxiety to spike. Watch your caffeine and be sure that you eat sweets in moderation. You should certainly enjoy the tasty festivities with your family and friends, but it is essential to do so in moderation.

Mental Rest

The holidays are typically labeled as a relaxing time spent sipping hot chocolate and watching Christmas movies while shopping online for presents. Though, let us be honest, it is not always the case. When you start making out your to-do list, the tasks can pile up, and before you know it, there’s no time left in the day. There’s a lot of pressure from family and friends, and the list seems ever-growing. 

Although it can be easy to get caught up in the holiday rush, the best thing you can do for yourself and your mental health is prioritize down time. Step away from the craziness, put your phone away for a bit, and rest mentally. Try meditation or yoga in the morning, reading a book, or simply taking a nap to mentally reset. 

Set Personal Goals

The holidays typically offer a break from your usual workflow, whether you are on college break or your work has given you a few weeks off. When you are used to a fast-paced flow and constant movement throughout the week, this time off from work, where you are simply sitting around, can leave you feeling out of sorts. 

Try setting easy, personal goals for yourself during this time so that you feel focused, like cooking a specific dish or reading a new book during the week. This is your time to take advantage of the opportunity to try new things and to check things off your to-do list that you have been too busy to tackle. Stray away from work or school to let yourself rest, but you can still be productive with personal and fun goals. 

Stay Connected

Even though the holidays are usually considered a time with family and friends, it is becoming more common these days to be away from family or for delays to mean that you cannot be close to those you love. During this time, connecting with family is easier than you think if you try. 

For those feeling down during the holidays, it is easy to choose not to talk to those you cannot see and stay huddled away. Choosing to connect with others during the holidays can be the most beneficial to your mental health. Call your loved ones, make cards, or send cards to those in nursing homes or hospitals that do not have loved ones during this time. It is important to make connections others during this time, especially if the holidays bring reminders of those who are no longer with us. 

Make a Plan To Cope

The best thing that you can do for yourself is to acknowledge your feelings and have realistic expectations for the holiday season. The worst thing you can do is be dishonest with yourself about what the holidays will hold, and then, when things start to go astray, you are caught off guard. So instead, prepare yourself for the holidays by making a plan to cope, whatever that coping method is for you as an individual. 

Whether it’s creating an exit strategy for when things get hard, scheduling extra therapy appointments, or focusing on saying no more often, it can be very helpful to have a solid coping strategy for the holiday season. Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like help coming up with healthy coping strategies this holiday season.

Learn About Neurofeedback and Get Started 

Although the above ways are helpful tips to help your mental health during the holidays when it’s difficult, those are only the starting point. Neurofeedback is the next greatest step that you can take to help with depression and anxiety. As we discussed in our previous article, neurofeedback helps to cope with stress and achieve better-regulated brain waves. It’s painless and easy but leaves you with the best results that will help you during the holiday season and all year round. 
To get started with feeling better during the holidays and helping your mental health all year round, check out Maggie’s neurofeedback services. To learn more about Neurofeedback, how it can help you, and how you can start today, check out the website here.