Healthy For The Holidays

Put Your Mental Health First This Holiday Season

Setting boundaries and acknowledging your feelings are two healthy ways to cope with holiday stress.

December 14, 2023

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be both exciting and overwhelming. Juggling relationships, finances, and the physical demands of this time of year can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and guilt.

We sat down with a Somatus Social Work Program Manager, Rayna, for her tips on how to manage your mental health during the holidays, and hear what advice she gives her patients to combat holiday stressors.

Q: The holiday season can be busy and hectic at times. Do you have any tips on how to ease stress and anxiety during this time of year?

A: Be realistic! Our time and energy are limited, so reserve them for what’s most important to you. Be proactive when shopping for presents and planning meals by setting a budget. It can be easy to overspend so setting a budget in advance will help you avoid overspending and the guilt that often comes with it 

Q: What are some strategies you’d recommend to remain mindful and present during the holidays?

A: It can be hard to stop yourself from thinking of everything you have to do tomorrow, the next day, and so on. I encourage my Somatus patients to acknowledge when they’re having these thoughts and practice positive self-talk. Remind yourself how precious and invaluable this time is with your friends and family. 

Q: What kind of boundaries are important to set during the holidays?

A: It’s okay to say no! I often have to remind myself of this during this time of year. Don’t feel obligated to participate in every event or gathering you are invited to. Saying yes when you should have said no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. It’s important to give your social battery time to recharge so you can fully enjoy yourself and your company. 

Q: If you aren’t able to spend time with family or friends, what are some ways you can celebrate on your own and still feel connected?

A: Lean on your community. Check out what local events and social gatherings are happening in your area and make a plan to go! On the other hand, don’t feel guilty if you want to take this time for yourself and practice self-care. Treat yourself to a night in with your favorite holiday movie and meal.

Q: What advice would you give someone who is coping with a loss this holiday season?

A: Be honest with yourself and acknowledge your feelings. You will likely experience a wide range of emotions that can be overwhelming. It’s important to express your feelings in a healthy way such as talking with a loved one, or journaling.

Q: Gratitude is an important element of the holiday season, what are some exercises to acknowledge what you are grateful for?

A: Give back! Donating just a couple hours of your time to others is bound to lift your spirits. Keep a look out for local food and clothing drives in your community, especially leading up to the holidays. Reflect on the past year and acknowledge the people, places, and experiences you are thankful for. This a great time to look ahead and set new goals for yourself in the new year. 

Q: What should a Somatus member do if they’re feeling under the weather, or need support with the holiday blues?

A: Our team is here to assist you wherever you are. Be honest with your health support team when you’re feeling down, and they will help you find the resources you need. Somatus nurses are also available 24/7 to help our members with non-emergency situations at (855) 851-8354, ext. 9. 

We hope these tips help you make the most of the holidays! 

The holidays should be an enjoyable time. If you find yourself experiencing anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts, here are some resources available 24/7:

  • Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 9-8-8 – call or text
  • SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration): 1-800-662-4357
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