The holiday season is a period of happiness and rejoicing, but it also can be a time of hidden anxiety for many. While the holidays call for celebrating traditions and family reunions, they can paradoxically also bring up unexpected mental health challenges.

These behavioral health specialists in Northwest Indiana share some tips that can help you stay mentally well during these joyous but sometimes overwhelming times.

How does holiday stress come about?

The holidays can be a period of intense emotions. Many people report feeling overwhelmed by the high expectations and the flurry of holiday activities.

There’s shopping, planning, cooking, and attending back-to-back events in many cases. On top of this seemingly never-ending to-do list, many people feel pressure to make everything perfect – from finding the perfect gift to preparing the perfect meal.

The financial side of the holidays cannot be ignored. Buying gifts, hosting parties and travel expenses can stretch your budget, which only leads to further stress and anxiety.

Then, there’s the family aspect. It can be difficult dealing with family interactions during the holidays, especially when certain family members have different opinions, traditions and personalities. And let’s not forget that the societal portrayal of the “perfect holiday” rarely matches our reality.

It’s important for individuals to be aware of these stressors and know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious or even somewhat down during the holidays.

How can you manage your expectations?

One of the first steps in managing holiday stress is to set realistic expectations for yourself and those around you.

Holidays don’t have to be perfect, and it’s okay not to feel happy all the time. As any behavioral health specialist in Northwest Indiana will tell you, it’s perfectly normal to experience these emotions. Sometimes, simply accepting that things might not go as planned can relieve a lot of the pressure you might feel.

Self-care tips for the holidays

Prioritizing self-care is crucial during the holiday season. This means setting aside time for yourself, doing things you enjoy and maybe trying mindfulness or meditation practices.

Here are some things that might help:

Seek support

The holidays are tough for many people, and reaching out for support is a sign of strength. Whether confiding in a trusted friend, family member or consulting with a professional behavioral health specialist in Northwest Indiana, openly expressing your feelings can be incredibly therapeutic and give you a fresh perspective.

Dealing with family dynamics

Family gatherings during the holiday season can be quite stressful for many people. If you can relate, it’s important to set boundaries and communicate your needs with family members.

This might mean having conversations about what you are comfortable with and what you are not. If certain topics or situations are triggering, it is okay to avoid them or to take a step back when necessary. Your mental health should always be a priority.

Handling loss and grief

For those who have lost loved ones, the holidays can intensify feelings of grief. It is important to honor these emotions and find ways to remember and celebrate the lives of those who are no longer with us.

Stay connected

Even with a busy holiday schedule, staying in touch with supportive friends and family can give you a sense of belonging and comfort. Don’t be afraid to reach out, share your feelings and listen to others.

Looking for an Affordable Behavioral Health Specialist in Northwest Indiana?

If you are feeling overwhelmed this holiday season, it’s important to remember that help is available. Are you ready to sit down with a behavioral health specialist in Northwest Indiana that can help you cope with the stress of the holidays? If so, our team at 219 Health Network is here to provide the support you need. Contact us today at 833-219-0001 to get started.