Behavioral Health Solutions: Prioritizing Mental Health During the Holiday Season
The holidays are a time of joy, celebration, family, and friends. But for many of us, the festive season can also be an incredibly stressful period. That's why it's so important to make sure that we prioritize mental health, especially during this season! This blog will share tips for practices that can help ensure positive psychological resilience in life transition periods like the holidays.
A 2022 survey from the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports 64% percent of people living with mental illness, the holidays can make their conditions worse. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people said their stress level increases during the holidays, and 53 percent of people feel financially stressed by holiday spending.
Prioritizing mental well-being during the holiday season isn't always easy but it's necessary! Taking care of your mental health should be a priority year-round, especially when many external stressors are involved, such as increased family obligations, busy schedules, and financial pressures. By maintaining healthy boundaries with loved ones and carving out dedicated moments each day just for yourself - chances are that you'll find yourself better equipped to handle transition periods like the holiday season in a positive way!
Here are some of the most common holiday suggestions to prevent and/or lessen holiday depression, anxiety, and stress, and maintain good mental health during the holiday season. Remember, that you always have a choice and there are options available to you. We wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season.
Set Boundaries Ahead of Time.
The holidays are a time when the family gets together but sometimes tensions rise from being in close quarters with people who may not agree on certain issues or topics. This can make conversations awkward or uncomfortable. It's important to set boundaries ahead of time to prevent any unnecessary conflicts that could arise during this special season. This can be done through communicating expectations before they arrive or having an honest conversation about what topics are off-limits while spending time together. Additionally, it can be helpful to limit your exposure to negative energy by taking breaks away from family members who might be causing tension in your environment. Doing so allows you to take some much-needed space while still enjoying quality time with loved ones.
It’s important to maintain peace and harmony during these times. Make sure to remind yourself that you have the power to decide how much energy you want to put into certain conversations or engagements with people who might not understand your point of view or lifestyle choices. It is okay to stay true to yourself while still being respectful toward others!
Take Care of Your Physical Needs.
It’s easy to forget about our physical needs when we get wrapped up in holiday festivities and responsibilities, but we must make sure we're taking care of ourselves first and foremost! Eating healthy meals throughout the day is key; try not to skip meals or give into cravings just because you're too busy running errands or traveling between locations on Christmas Day. Additionally, ensure you're getting enough rest each night so your body has enough energy throughout the day - aim for at least 7-8 hours a night! Finally, build some activity into your daily routine if you can; exercise is a great way to relieve stress and clear your mind!
Make Time for Yourself.
With all the events going on around us during this season, it can be hard to find time for yourself amidst all the hustle and bustle - but we must make it happen! Taking even five minutes out of each day can help restore balance in our lives; use these moments however you'd like, whether reading a book or practicing deep breathing exercises, especially when many external stressors are involved.
Take Steps to Stay Safe.
If someone isn’t feeling well or having flue like symptoms, take precautions to keep a distance and take vitamins to build up the immune system.
Accept Your Needs.
Be kind to yourself! Put your own mental and physical well-being first. Recognize what your triggers are to help you prepare for stressful situations. Is shopping for holiday gifts too stressful for you? What is making you feel physically and mentally agitated? Once you know this, you can take steps to avoid or cope with stress.
Write a Gratitude List and Offer Thanks.
As we near the end of the year, it’s a good time to reflect on what you are grateful for, then thank those who have supported you. Gratitude has been shown to improve mental health. During all the negative circumstances, is there something or someone for whom you are grateful?
Manage your Time and Don’t Try to do Too Much.
Prioritizing your time and activities can help you use your time well. Making a day-to-day schedule helps ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks and deadlines. It’s okay to say no to plans that don’t fit into your schedule or make you feel good.
Even pre-pandemic, the happy lives of the people shown in those holiday commercials are fictional. We all have struggled at one time or another and it’s not realistic to expect otherwise. Sometimes, finding the perfect gift or having a peaceful time with family is impossible. (Yes, even Zoom family gatherings can be stressful!)
There are many expenses during the holidays. Whether buying presents, food or traveling, you may get into the habit of overextending yourself. Plan your budget for the holiday season.
Not everyone in the family gets along and sometimes there are personality conflicts. Family members may try guilt trips or push boundaries and you may feel obligated to do things that you don't want to do. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Set boundaries with your family and communicate with them.
During the winter months, our activity levels slow down and there are many opportunities to eat rich food and alcohol which can lead to feelings of guilt and sharing. When you plan your holiday schedule, allow yourself the opportunities to be active.
Taking on Too Much.
You may have over-committed or experienced unrealistic expectations during the holiday season. Pace yourself, do not take on more responsibilities than you can handle. Cut out the things that aren't truly important.
Loneliness & Isolation.
Loneliness and isolation can be a concern for many people during the holidays. Pick up a winter hobby or join a group. This will give you planned interactions.
The holidays can be a reminder of the loss of a loved one. Acknowledge that this holiday season won't be the same. This is an opportunity to create new traditions to keep your loved one's memory alive.
Seasonal Affective Disorder.
(SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. The symptoms include tiredness, depression, mood changes, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, insomnia, decreased interest in activities, and overacting. Speak to a mental health professional in your community about your options.
As the year ends, many of us reflect on what has changed or stayed the same. Take stock of things that are going well, or that you have done well. When we always look at what we don't have we forget to be grateful for what we do have. Give yourself credit and look to the future with optimism.
We hope that these tips have helped get you started on your journey to self-care during the holiday season! And remember, if you're feeling overwhelmed by the added stress of documentation during this time of year, know that Opus EHR is here to help. Our easy-to-use platform was designed specifically with behavioral health providers in mind and can help take some of the burdens off your shoulders so that you can focus on what's important: providing great care for your clients.
As a behavioral health solutions company, Opus understands how difficult the combination of increased family obligations, busy schedules, and financial pressures can be during the holiday season. We need to step up as a resource for our client's mental well-being by helping them through efficient and time-saving solutions.
If you're looking for an EHR platform that will make your life easier this holiday season (and all year round!), look no further than Opus. Our user-friendly software is designed to save you time so that you can focus on what matters most: your patients. Contact us today to learn more about how Opus can help you provide better patient care while reducing clinician burnout.
Using Opus EHR relieves clinician stress because of the easy-to-use platform and efficiency. We take care of your systems through our total solutions encompassing a system sync, real-time status updates, single-point data entry, billing transparency, and more. Schedule a consultation with our experts today to learn more. https://bit.ly/opusehr