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Keeping your mental health in check during the holidays
Keeping your mental health in check during the holidays
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The Christmas season – the time when everybody gathers around the table to catch up on the latest life updates, major events, and sweet, sweet gossip. It’s often depicted as warm, cozy, carefree, and cheerful, but we know that’s not really the case.
 

Last-minute shopping, stressful flights, busy airports, snow, crying children, yelling on the phone, chaotic and almost impossible-to-arrange plans – the list can go on forever – are only some of the obstacles we have to deal with, just to spend some time with the family.



Keeping calm and carrying on isn’t really that easy in those circumstances, is it? During the festive season, your mental health can take quite a heavy hit, which can in turn impact your physical health and in general make the holidays something you approach with anxiety and dread, not with joy and glee.

 

Keeping your mental health in check is hard, but not impossible. As long as you prepare in advance, keep an open mind and set realistic expectations, everything goes smoothly! Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the time Christmas rolls around – with them, your holidays will be stress-free, and you’ll be able to enjoy sitting across your relatives without feeling like you’ve risen from the grave.
 

Plan in advance

Stop debating it and do it. Take those last two days off work, if possible. Do you remember all the times you had to sit in traffic, with your kid incessantly screaming from the back seat, on your way to the mall? You probably remember how nerve-wracking and stressful it was, having to deal with things outside of your control, feeling helpless, and on the verge of a breakdown.
 

Plan in advance – if you can, take a few days off work; if not, try to squeeze in some festive shopping a week before Christmas. If you’re going to travel, buy tickets in advance, or find an alternative way to reach your destination – the more time you have to plan, the better.
 

Don’t try to deal with all preparations at the last moment, take careful steps to prevent the anxiety and annoyance that comes with dealing with the chaos of last-minute shopping, traffic, and organization issues.
 

Keep an open mind


 

You don’t really need to do the same thing you’ve been doing for the past few years, really, you don’t. Try something new, experiment. Maybe give your friends a call, and see what they’re doing, perhaps they’d be open to trying something new, or have an even better idea to offer. Ask your family what they think about changing things up – perhaps a trip to a foreign country or a neighboring state.
 

Tradition is cool and all, but sometimes we need to break up with it, at least for a little bit. Sure, doing what we know and what we’re familiar with is comfortable, and we know that very few things can go wrong, but still – our mind loves a challenge, it craves novelty. Feed it something new and exciting and see for yourself that after a while, it’ll make you feel great!
 

The festive season is meant to be fun, right? It’s meant to bring people together and make us feel loved and appreciated. What better way to bond with your loved ones than trying something new together? It doesn’t need to be something complicated or daunting; it could be as simple as changing up the place where the gathering takes place, or introducing a new activity, like board games or party games.
 

Set realistic expectations

We turn on the TV, open our favorite website, or browse through social media, and there it is – the cheerful, colorful, happy, and carefree depiction of the Christmas holidays. Santa Claus, cute reindeers, presents wrapped in a multitude of colors, cookies, and a warm bed - ‘tis the season! Subconsciously, we’ve already set our expectations too high. We’ve come up with an idea of how everything should be.
 

And then, when absolutely nothing happens the way we imagined it, we get bummed out, become angry, annoyed, and disappointed.
 

To avoid this, don’t put any pressure on yourself, or your relatives. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, we lose our temper, and we get a bit touchy. That’s fine. No need to lose our cool because of it.
 

As fun as the holidays can be, oftentimes they’re more stressful than anything else, and that’s because we have this grand idea of what they should be and how they should feel. That’s complete nonsense. Christmas is whatever you make of it. And that’s where the secret lies: it’s up to you to decide. If you don’t want to, you can refuse to take part. You can simply sit at home, drink some tea, and read your favorite book.

That’s it. No questions asked.
 

But if you do decide to carry out your plans, don’t expect too much. It’s only a couple of days, anyway. It doesn’t matter that it’s Christmas, what matters is that you’re around your loved ones, and you’re spending quality time together. It could’ve been any other day of the year, right?
 

A few more tips…
 

Keep a journal handy. You’ll never know when you might need to write a few things down. It’ll ease some of the pressure off, as you won’t have to keep your mind busy with remembering miscellaneous things.
 

Don’t overspend. Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean you have to go all out and splurge on meaningless things. Sure, you might make a few people smile, plus you could get that one thing you always wanted, but… think about it first. Do you really need it? Is it really the time? If not, put your wallet in your pocket and walk out.
 

Try to relax. You can’t please everybody, and it’s not your job to, anyway. Take some “me” time. It’s neither rude nor selfish. After all you’ve done, you deserve it. Put on your favorite track, go outside and go for a walk; read in the living room, alone; dance madly in your bedroom; Get creative, be yourself, love yourself.

Remind yourself that the holidays only last for so long. You don’t have to ruin your mood over a few days, really. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll get in your car and drive off to work. Maybe your uncle talking about heavy-duty machinery and baseball, or your kids screaming and breaking plates and glasses isn’t that bad after all, is it? Enjoy the holidays for what they are – a gathering to celebrate life itself. Be grateful that you’re there!
 

Have a wonderful Christmas, y’all! May you feel the greatest of joys and shine through the entire week that follows. On New Year’s Eve, make sure to make a wish, and keep it a secret! We’re eager to check in with you next year!
 

Have a good one,

 

Haya Labs

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