10 Ways to Focus on your Mental Wellness during the Holidays

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1. Help others by volunteering

Volunteering your time or doing something to help others is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden friendships. For example, consider dropping off a meal at a friend’s home or deliver baked goods to a neighbour during the holidays – particularly for those who may be alone.

2. Avoid overspending

Set a limit for presents and schedule low-cost outings. Make a budget and stick to it.

3. Maintain healthy habits

Avoid overindulging in food, and keep up exercise routines as much as possible. Although drinks may be flowing over the holidays, it’s important to moderate alcohol, which can have a negative impact on mood and affect your motivation around healthy habits like exercise. Getting enough sleep is also important for physical and mental health.

4. Practice gratitude

Even when you’re going through rough times, there are still things to be grateful for during the holiday season. Look out the window and take the time to appreciate the colours. Notice the wind in the trees. Indulge your sense of wonder in this world. There is strong evidence that documenting the things you are grateful for can lift your mood.

5. Be intentional about how you spend your time

Devote time to being intentionally present by taking deep breaths, observing your surroundings and being in the moment. Take a break from worrying or focusing too much on challenges. Moderate screen time; take a break from the constant news cycle and social media, and avoid binge watching TV.

6. Spread positivity

Share good old fashioned greetings with people you come across; a chipper word or two creates community and reduces isolation. “Hello,” “Hi,” “Good morning,” “After you,” and “Happy holidays!” help us feel connected.

7. Reach out if you are feeling lonely or sad

Talk to a friend or family member – if you can’t visit, try reaching out with a text, a call or a video chat. Schedule an outdoor activity with loved ones – go for a walk, bike ride or snow shoe outdoors. Or engage in community, religious or other social events, support groups, social media or virtual events that can provide support and companionship.

8. Don’t romanticize holidays past

The holiday season brings expectations and stress for many people, and it’s rarely perfect. The season won’t always be merry and bright, even at the best of times – and that is OK.

9. Start new traditions

Find creative ways to mark the season – they may even become new traditions. Take a stroll through the neighborhood to view the lights, surprise loved ones with baked goods, or host an online “watch party” with friends and family, complete with popcorn, eggnog and a classic holiday movie.

10. Remember, this too shall pass

Feeling dragged down by current events? Take the long view and find comfort in a time-tested saying that inspires you. Use the saying as much as you need to give you faith, comfort and hope. “This too shall pass” is a great example!

Source: Interior Health

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