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Mental Health Tips to Help Get You Through the Holidays

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

We know that the holiday season can be joyous and fun, while also stressful and difficult. We want you to feel supported through this upcoming holiday season, whatever it has in store for you. A few of us from the Find Your Shine team have banded together to give you some tips that will help you prioritize your mental health throughout the holiday season and beyond.

1. From Elizabeth Leary, LCSW: Check-In with Yourself

During the holiday times I like to take moments to "check in with my Self." I take this language through my work with Internal Family Systems Therapy, which has brought me and many of my clients healing and comfort. This "check in" is particularly helpful for me prior to going into a group function or holiday party. Here is what I do: I place my hand on my chest, close my eyes, take a breath, and ask inside "how ya doing, Lisa?" Often I will notice parts which are nervous, tired, excited and others. I then let these parts of me know, "I see you and you're welcome here." I then ask follow up questions like "is there anything you need from me right now or during this event?" I try my best to listen with openness and compassion, with the internal commitment to best care for all my parts.

2. From Emma Lauer, LCSW: Set Boundaries with Diet-Talk This time of year can be particularly rife with diet-talk, which is challenging for anyone with eating or body image issues. If you notice yourself stuck in a conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable, is hard for you to listen to, or rubs up against your values, you’re allowed to set boundaries. This can look many ways, and it’s up to you to find the strategy that feels best for you. Setting a boundary may look like walking away and finding a different conversation to join, changing the topic by asking someone about their new job, new house, perhaps their recent vacation. Or, it could be more direct with a comment such as, “I just wish women didn’t feel as though they have to worry so much about what their bodies look like.” You’re allowed to find whatever boundary feels best so that you can protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

3. From Nikki Libby, LPC: Manage Expectations The holiday season can be filled with many pressures. Whether you are a recovering perfectionist or working hard to maintain boundaries; we invite you to evaluate the expectations you place upon yourself during this time. To determine how expectations are impacting you, you may want to ask yourself, where does this expectation come from and who placed it upon me? Does this hurt or enhance my physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing? If you deem that the expectations are more harmful than helpful we challenge you to make small changes that are better in line with what you need. Making adjustments can be hard and is far easier said than done, so be sure to demonstrate compassion towards yourself for not upholding expectations that no longer serve you or your family.

4. From Amanda Bull, MC Intern: Manage Seasonal Depression As the holiday season quickly approaches, so do the colder months and shorter days. It can often feel as though you rarely see the sunlight during the winter season and many people will notice their mood drops each year as the sun begins to set at 5:00 PM. As this time of year approaches, I try to incorporate various practices into my daily routine to counteract the symptoms associated with the “winter blues”. For example, I will try to either take a short walk in the sunshine or sit in front of my light therapy lamp for 10–20-minutes every day. Vitamin D deficiencies are also more prevalent in the winter months. Therefore, with the permission of your primary care physician, a nutritional vitamin D supplement could be beneficial. Lastly, please do not hesitate to reach out for help from a mental health professional if you feel your symptoms have become unmanageable.

We hope that these tips help you feel a little more supported with any challenges you may face. All of us here at Find Your Shine are wishing you peace and joy, now and into the New Year.

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