The holiday season can be full of gatherings with friends, meals with family, and joy-filled days. But they can also be stressful and especially challenging for those impacted by mental illness. For some, the holiday season can bring with it a surge in anxiety and depression, as more than 64% of people with mental illness report.

So how can you strengthen your mental health during the holiday season?

  1. Accept where you are. Being kind to yourself should take priority. If you’re not taking care of your own needs, who will? Recognize your triggers, specifically related to holiday gatherings and the season in general, and work around them. Being kind to yourself can help you to not only feel calm and settled, but potentially enjoy the holiday season.
  2. Note the things you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude is always a good idea, and especially during the time of year when you need the mental boost that an appreciative mindset will give you. Is there something or someone you are particularly grateful for this year? Express your gratitude in your own way and enjoy the endorphins doing so will release.
  3. Manage your time. The social gatherings, work parties and family commitments can quickly take up your entire calendar. Try not to overcommit yourself so the impending overwhelm doesn’t have a chance to hit. Make a schedule and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to say no when something doesn’t fit into your schedule, or makes you feel immediately overwhelmed at the prospect.
  4. Remember to be mindful and take care of yourself. This is a wonderful time to keep up with your mindfulness, meditation, self-care and other positive practices. Daily exercise is a great way to stay centered and focused, and can give you time to recharge when you need to.

Creating new memories, caring for yourself and expressing your gratitude to others can help you manage your holiday blues. We hope these steps can help you plan for and protect your mental health during the holiday season.

4 steps to strengthen your mental health during the holiday season