The holidays can be a challenging time and the COVID-19 pandemic has made managing mental health even more challenging for many.
“A study conducted by the National Alliance of Mental Illness found that 64 percent of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse.”
Understanding what can trigger someone allows them to take steps to avoid situations that will cause additional mental stress. This can be activities such as shopping for holiday gifts or preparing a family dinner. During these stressful times it is important to remember what someone is grateful for and thank those who have supported them.
Here are some reminders to help you take care of your brain health this holiday season.
- Take steps to stay safe. Don’t attend gatherings if you feel sick and frequently wash surfaces and hands.
- Accept your needs. Be kind to yourself! Put your own mental and physical well-being first. Think about what your triggers are to help you prepare for stressful situations.
- If triggers arise, take a deep breathe. Try the 4, 7, 8 method. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale for 8 seconds.
- Get some fresh air or go for a walk when you can.
- Manage your time and don’t try to do too much. Prioritizing your time and activities can help you use your time well. It’s okay to say no to plans that don’t fit into your schedule or make you feel good.
- Set boundaries. Family dynamics can be complex. Acknowledge that you can only control your role and create limits on exposure.
- Check-in on friends or family who might be struggling. Not everyone’s holidays look the same. A genuine expression of gratitude for the important people in your life can go a long way for creating a support network, especially one where we can all feel comfortable acknowledging our brain health.
- Treat yourself! Carve out some time to do something just for yourself every day and keep that promise to yourself!
Happy holidays and stay safe!
Below are some numbers and hotlines that you might be inclined to share with family members or friends who you might be struggling. Be an advocate for brain health where you can. Sometimes we all can use some guidance and a hand to hold through these processes.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor
- The Trevor Project: Text START to 678-678
Check out our resources directory for more: Get Help - Brain Health Bootcamp