By Jazmine Velasquez
Target has already set out holiday decorations which can only mean one thing: Holiday Season 2019 is upon us. While some may be looking forward to some time off with family, others dread the thought of it. If you are part of the latter camp, you don’t have to feel alone. According to an article on Psychology Today, many people feel “more stress, anxiety, and depression in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.” These feelings could be due to a lot of different reasons: family tensions, being alone for the holidays, or a break in their daily routine. All these factors and more make the holidays a stressful time. If you happen to struggle with your mental health during the holiday season, here are a few tips to get you through to the end of 2019.
Make a Mini Self-Care Kit
It is easy to forget your normal self-care routine while traveling and visiting family members. One thing I do for myself is to pack a mini self-care kit to stash on my carry-on bag. Think beyond just skincare and bath bombs—I like to pack some facemasks as well as a small craft project (like crocheting) to unwind at the end of the day. A small journal to write down your thoughts, a perfume with a calming scent, or even making a playlist to meditate to in a quiet room are all helpful ideas. Small acts of kindness to yourself go a long way.
Take a Walk
If you happen to be a person that decompresses their stress by staying active, then you already know that working out is difficult during the holiday season. Taking a walk is one of the simplest things you can do to keep up your physical activity. You can go alone or invite someone to come along—it’s a great way to catch with a favorite family member. If walking sounds boring, make a modified workout routine that can be done in a small room with just your body weight. If you happen to be staying at a hotel, find one with a workout room.
Plan Friendsgiving/Christmas Exchange
One of the things I struggle with most is not seeing my friends for a month during the holiday season —they are basically like family to me and a huge part of my support system. I like to plan a small holiday potluck before Thanksgiving with my friends to kick-off the season on the right foot. Some people aren’t close to their families and that is okay. Making time for your chosen family can really do wonders for your mental health. If a meet-up isn’t possible, schedule phone calls to keep tabs on each other during the holidays.
Step Back and Take a Deep Breath
Whether you are the person hosting a holiday meal at your home or happen to feel overwhelmed in large-group situations, it’s important to step back and take a deep breath. Overstimulation can bring on a lot of stress which can result in irritability and increased anxiety. If you feel like everything is too much, just take a moment to go into a quiet room, take a few deep breaths, allow your heart-rate to go down, and let any tension in your mind and body go. These few minutes can make all the difference in how you feel and how you treat others.
Plan Your Perfect Holiday
If you are a person that will be spending the holidays alone for one reason or another, don’t fret —there are plenty of ways to enjoy the day in your own way. One of my favorite things to do when I spent the holidays alone was planning a movie marathon, order my favorite foods (Indian food especially) ahead of time and spend the day doing the things I love like cross-stitching. I love holiday movies but if that’s not your thing, there is plenty of other options for you to choose from. If you want to run a marathon for a charity, go for it. If you want to spend some time contributing to your community, that an amazing option too. A perfect holiday doesn’t have to follow the traditional mold.
Here at Love + Chew, we hope you have a holiday season that makes you feel warm and bright.