The holiday season can be a happy time full of shopping, decorating, cookie making and family gatherings. It can also bring challenges to some and can be a difficult time of year. Whether you are facing a first holiday without a loved one, facing a conflict with a family member or your mental health is feeling weighed down, here are some tips to help you survive the holiday season and take care of your mental health.
- Choose the events you attend carefully.
Attend the events that bring joy to you, mean something to you or make you feel good. If they don’t fall into those categories, then don’t feel obligated to go.
- Reconnect with friends and family with coffee instead of alcohol.
Alcohol can cause depression, anxiety, change in your sleep pattern, or bring on negative feelings. Try to meet for coffee, lunch or soda instead of drinking beer or cocktails.
- Get outdoors.
When the holidays approach, it is easy to eat and drink more than usual. By staying active, you are not only protecting your physical, but mental health too. Take a family walk, try ice skating or jump in a pile of snow!
- Volunteer your time.
Volunteering needs are always high during the holidays. Contact your favorite charity to see if they need any assistance. Volunteering can help reduce your stress, improve your mood and increase your happiness while helping others.
- Set realistic family expectations.
Conflict in families is very common over the holidays and very normal, as well. Realize that and try not to set expectations for family time. If you find yourself becoming caught up in conflict, take some time out for yourself. Go for a walk, listen to some music, practice some breathing techniques or read a treasured book.
- Reserve a day all for you.
The holidays bring on a packed calendar for many of us. Make sure to carve out one day or one morning for yourself. Do what is relaxing and joyful for you. Watch a favorite holiday movie, make cookies or get a massage. Self-care is so important!
By using these tips as a guideline, you can get through the holiday season feeling mentally healthy and happy!
Lori Atkinson, Operations Director for The Kim Foundation
Lori Atkinson joined The Kim Foundation in May 2015. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Middle Level Education. She was an 8th grade English teacher in the Omaha Public Schools from 1992 – 2000, a stay at home mom for several years, and then started a small non-profit in her husband’s memory during 2010. Lori carries out many duties for The Kim Foundation which includes: scheduling presentations in the community, hosting booths at conferences, managing the Art & Creative Writing Contest, coordinating the School Resource Fair, organizing the Suicide Prevention PSA Contest, assisting with the annual luncheon, and participating in the coalition’s community outreach group. Lori is the proud mom of three children and is actively involved in her church.