How To Keep Your Mental Health During The Holidays

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For many people the holiday season usually conjures up warm and friendly images of family togetherness, seasonal cheer and goodwill to all mankind. But for others, the holiday season is daunting and a depressing reminder of the difficulties on their lives, and that can lead to anxiety and even depression. For example, something as simple as buying the perfect Christmas present can create untold anxiety caused by the stress both of choosing the right gift and being able to afford it on an already stretched shopping budget

So today we are going to explore how you can avoid the overwhelm and stay stress free during the holidays.

It is important to take a moment to assess how you are feeling and make a plan of action to tackle the issues that are causing you stress, and so in most situations it is best to get sound professional advice about mental health right out of the gate.

The being said, in any case here are a few practical steps to take and apply before the anxiety escalates:


1. Look after your finances

Holidays are not just all about buying favor and attention by giving extravagant gifts that you may not be able to afford. Keep it simple, and don’t over-stretch your budget now only to feel the financial pain after the holidays.

In fact, there is scientific research from Stanford University that while gift givers assume that expensive gifts will be better received, the recipients do not place more good feelings on expensive gifts as much as the giver may think! Instead, focus on what would feel like a thoughtful gift to the recipient, and think about other cheaper options that avoid gift exchanges altogether, like just having a coffee date or meal at home with them.


2. Keep away from controversy

It is rare to find a family where are no long-harbored grudges or awkward memories that have not been dealt with. The holidays often thrust family members together when they may not have even spoken all year, let alone had any meaningful dialogue about outstanding family issues. Family members may be feeling their own anxiety just by the thought of a large family gathering. If you add the extended period of close proximity and alcohol into the mix, it can create a spark for an extended family firestorm that can last the entire season and beyond – and greater holiday stress and depression.

Try to step aside from the grievances now, and save dealing with them for a later time that will run the risk of drawing other family members into the discussion. In the cooler light of days outside the holiday you may have a clearer picture of the situation, which may have a far simpler resolution than you thought.


3. Take time for yourself and your family

Cut back on the holiday events that you may be asked to attend and even host yourself. If you have repeated houseguests, you will be constantly trying to keep your home neat and tidy and you can quickly feel overrun just by that. If you try to attend too many functions, you may become over-tired and even sick. You may also increase your anxiousness by repeatedly having to meet strangers in crowded spaces, especially if you suffer from social anxiety. So sometimes you will just have to say ‘no thank you’ in order to protect your mental health.


So take steps to prevent anxiety and stress during the holidays before it happens, by recognizing triggers, such as those described above, before you begin to feel swamped and overwhelmed. If you do, you will find the joy of the holidays and become a better person for your loved ones and all around you. happy holidays!


About The Author

Jim McKenzie is the founder and editor of , the premier site for modern dads and creator of the #MegaDad Awards