Holidays and emotional health go hand in hand. These past few years have asked a lot of all of us, emotionally and mentally. That’s why mental health this holiday season (and always, really) should be something we think about. And, we all benefit from using healthy coping skills. NOAH’s experts weigh in on coping skills and the holiday season below.
First, we hope you have readjusted your expectations for 2021 vs. prior to COVID. Some things may be “back to normal” and some things and people may not be quite the same as pre-COVID (that includes you!). If you expect a holiday season that is picture perfect, when real life doesn’t meet your expectation, the reaction can be very real and very difficult.
Now that we’ve all adjusted our expectations, our NOAH behavioral health experts share good coping skills. Learn healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety and depression, your day and however you are celebrating the holidays this year. Coping skills can be different from person to person, and in different situations.
Try these coping skills and use what works best for you
- Acknowledge your feelings. There is a lot more about this important step in a previous post, so read about that here.
- Talk to someone. This can be a counselor or therapist, or it can be a friend or family member who helps you feel heard and calms the situation without getting involved.
- Slow down. If you are doing too many things, being everything for everyone, it’s time to slow down and take a break.
- Make a list. If you have a lot to do (see #3 above), and it is causing stress, make a list. Crossing things off your list also gives you a sense of accomplishment which is a positive feeling.
- Do deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises can have a lot of benefits to your overall health. Take deep breaths in, hold it for several seconds and slowly exhale. Repeat this for a minute or two.
- Get distracted. Step away from what is causing you anxiety or depression. Try to lose yourself in something else, like a puzzle, an easy project, adult coloring books, yard work or whatever can keep you distracted for a while.
- Take a walk. Walking outdoors is great for your health. Not only is the exercise good, fresh air and sunshine are helpful for your overall health. Plus, taking a walk can distract you (#6) and help you slow down (#3) as well.
- Use your five senses. Do something that engages different senses. Notice what is around you using sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. This will give your mind a break from things that may be causing stress.
This holiday season can hold a lot of different feelings and emotions, and that is okay. Be kind to yourself and others. And, most importantly, enjoy the holiday season however you celebrate it.