6 Important Tips to Help Manage Holiday Stress
Holidays can mean a lot of different things for everyone. Between getting excited for some much deserved time off, spending time with family at home, seeing beautiful lights and decorations around the city to celebrate the holiday spirit. It can also lead to feeling the emotional weight of everything that has taken place this year, missing our loved ones who are no longer with us, and for couples trying to conceive marking another year in their infertility journey that did not go the way that they would have hoped.
However you may be feeling these coming weeks and however you choose to spend your time, here are some tips to help you make this a time for elevation and comfort.
Spend time outdoors: take some time to move and breathe in the fresh air outside. As beautiful as it can be to just sit and enjoy our great outdoors, try taking some extra time on a daily basis to have some healthy movement. Going for a nice walk on a trail in a beautiful setting. Perhaps getting out to finally do that winter sport you have been wanting to get back to (snowshoeing, skiing, skating, hiking, or good old walking). Really immerse yourself in to it and try to disconnect from electronics. Enjoy the cool breeze, the unique sounds of the outdoors, the warmth you generate from your activity, or visiting outdoor areas decorated for the holidays.
Give yourself some time to meditate: if you have time, take 10-15 mins to meditate a day. If you are very busy and have a lot to do, take 30 mins to meditate a day. Go ahead that read that last line again. Meditation is not just for challenging days. Keeping up with a regular meditation routine can help reduce feelings of anxiety, sadness, and decrease the likelihood of relapse to an episode of major depressive disorder. Don't just take time for this, but gift yourself the time to meditate. It is a well-deserved time to take care of yourself, and you always are deserving of self-care, especially after such a challenging year!
Connect with loved ones: virtually or safely outdoors (following public health guidelines of course!) set up times in your calendar to connect with others. Sometimes agreeing to a time beforehand helps to avoid missing calls or leaving missed calls when you are trying to connect with your loved ones. Communication is a powerful medicine. It can help to heal emotional and mental wounds like a soothing and cooling balm. Try and uplift those around you and connect with the people who help to lift you up too!
Start a gratitude journal: and don't put a limit on it. You don't have to write 1 or 3 things. Write whatever you can think of, it may be 20 things you are grateful for that day or maybe even just 1. When you finish writing what you are grateful for in your day, look over the list, and remember how lucky you are to have those things to be grateful for. Someone somewhere was probably hoping to have just one of those things today.
Avoid consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or using recreational substances: sometimes this is an easy way to deal with a challenging day or when your mood isn't great. But drinking too much beyond moderation and the use of recreational substances may worsen things than help.
Donate to those that are in need this holiday: if you are in a position to give, please consider donating to a worthy cause, such as a food bank or a homeless shelter. We may not be able to see all those we are trying to help, but we can continue to support the institutions who have been supporting those in need and need our support this holiday as well. While this may not directly support you during the holidays, it is important to support our community members. An important part of taking care of yourself is looking after your community as well.
If you need support the Mental Health Crisis Line (bilingual) in Ottawa is available 24/7 and can be reached by calling (613) 722-6914.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.