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How can you keep your mental health safe throughout the hectic Holiday season?



Plan ahead

Share your expectations for the holiday events with friends or family by talking about them or writing them down.


It's also a good idea to prepare for certain situations that you know will arise. Recognizing the difficult interactions that may occur can help you better prepare, whether it's avoiding particularly thorny political topics, anticipating comments from family members about your weight or when you'll have kids, or preparing for your social battery to run out before the festivities end.


Partners can discuss where (and with whom) family dinners will be held, how much time they'll spend together, and how much money they'll spend on gifts. Speaking out loud about those concerns won't instantly bring everything into alignment, but it will help your loved ones understand what you want and don't want.


Be mindful

Share your expectations for the holiday events with friends or family by talking about or writing them down.


It's also a good idea to prepare for unexpected events. Recognizing the difficult interactions that may occur can help you better prepare, whether it's avoiding particularly thorny political topics, anticipating comments from family members about your weight or when you'll have children, or preparing for your social battery to run out before the festivities end.


Partners can discuss where (and with whom) family dinners will be held, how much time they'll spend together, and how much money they'll spend on gifts. Speaking out loud about those concerns won't instantly bring everything into alignment, but it will help your loved ones understand what you want and don't want.


Be mindful

Others, on the other hand, may have a problem with ruminating on the stress of the holidays before they even begin.


"Some folks spend 20 hours worrying about what's going to happen for three hours," said Pauline Wallin, a Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based psychologist who specializes in holiday stress management.


"It's almost as if you're practicing, going over scenarios and thinking about it, and by the time you get there, you're already worked up."


Though being aware that certain unpleasant events may arise can help some people prepare, Wallin stated that worrying ahead of time is pointless. You have no influence over what other people say or do, and it's merely a prolouge.


Others, on the other hand, may have a problem with ruminating on the stress of the holidays before they even begin.


When you're among family, dealing with that tension may mean reaching for another drink of wine or more food. That's completely acceptable, but don't go overboard. During the holidays, Americans tend to drink more, and the repercussions for your health (and your diplomatic abilities) can be more damaging than beneficial.


There are other recommendations on how to manage the holidays sober if you or a loved one is recovering from a substance use disorder, such as this one.


Time for yourself

Holidays don't have to be crammed with people and activities, despite what Hallmark movies might have you believe.


Consider carving out some time for yourself to reflect or refresh. This might be as simple as going for a walk after dinner or using an errand as an excuse to spend an hour alone on a hectic day.


Alternatively, partners or friends can schedule a check-in time for the start or end of the day. Orleck proposes making a coffee or tea ritual in which you talk about how your day went or your intentions for the day. Checking in relieves some of the tension.


This may be the first Thanksgiving without a parent or sibling for some people or families. COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 750,000 Americans so far, leaving almost 140,000 children without a primary or secondary caregiver.


Because of your sadness, you or others may not be in the mood to rejoice, especially if you are experiencing feelings of loss.


It can also be a time to actively celebrate with selected family and friends for those who do not have or do not meet up with their biological families. Friendsgiving get-togethers or Christmas service work are also viable possibilities.



Above all, realize that you're not alone if you're worried about the forthcoming holidays. Many individuals are in similar situations, and services are available to assist them.



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