Importance of Mental Health During the Holidays

Throughout life people often preach about the importance of being healthy which is often tied to someone’s physical well being. However, one aspect of health that is often overlooked is the importance of mental health. Physical and mental health are two sides of the same coin. They’re both essential to your overall health, the coin. While physical health deals with how well your body is operating, mental health encompasses the overall state of our emotional, psychological, and social well being. Mental health affects us every day of our lives, and it’s especially important to manage your mental health during the holidays where it often gets stressful. 

Enduring hardships with great fortitude is admirable, being negligent of what stress and hardship does to your mental state is dangerous. Our mental health affects how we feel, think, and act. The worse you let it get, the harder it is to manage. It influences our coping mechanism and how we handle stress along with how we interact with other people. Eventually it can get to a point where it clouds judgement and hinders your ability to make healthy choices. It even affects how we are physically. One might feel a loss of motivation to stay active or develop an unhealthy relationship with food. It can even cause the development of diseases. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) poor mental health has been linked to long-lasting health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Managing your mental health is hard, especially during the holidays. According to the American Psychological Association 38% of people who took part in their survey mentioned their stress and mental health was worse during the holiday season. This can be credited to the tension caused by lack of time, financial status, family issues, and fear of judgement for things such as gifts and food. Another major source of stress is also the pressure for perfection. We often want the holidays to feel magical, free of flaws, but this can lead to disappointment and stress when reality isn’t the same as the holiday you pictured.  

It’s important to note that mental health isn’t static. So it’s crucial to get it back on track when it goes  awry. So what can you really do? It’s important to manage your expectations, especially when this year is different to ones we are normally used to. Managing your expectations will help you stay positive and make sure you don’t feel let down.You can also take a break or check out. If it ever gets overwhelming simply take some time off for yourself. Prioritizing your mental health is more important than forcing yourself to celebrate the holidays. Remember there will always be another year, but your mental health can take a serious toll if you ignore it. Acknowledge your feelings. Many people experience feelings of sadness, loss, grief, change, or seasonal depression during  the holidays so it’s important to not feel alienated and know that it’s completely normal. Maintaining routine can also help relieve stress. All the extra pressure of preparing for the holidays can throw off the balance in your life so it’s important to keep up routines that help the well being of your physical and mental health such as getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying active. And finally have someone you can talk to. Keeping things to yourself is not healthy and talking to someone or something can help. It can be your parents, friends, siblings. It doesn’t even have to be a person. Venting to your pets, or inanimate objects, and journaling can also help you stay mentally healthy. 

Overall it’s important to know that it’s okay to not be okay and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. Enjoy the holidays, but if it gets too much it’s important to acknowledge and mend your mental health as it affects your everyday life. It can even impact how you experience the holidays. The better your mental health the better you do physically, emotionally, psychology, and socially. 

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