The holiday season can be a very stressful time for many people. It is a busy time of the year that can bring people out of their day-to-day routines. For some, this can feel even more stressful.

While taking care of your mental health all year is extremely important, it is even more important that you take time to make sure you are caring for yourself in busy and stressful times like the holidays.

Here are some tips to care for your mental health during the holiday seasons.

1. Do something for yourself.

Prioritize you. Doing something for yourself can include a variety of things. You can get a massage, get your nails or hair done, go to eat at your favorite restaurant, stay in and watch your favorite movie or show — the list is endless.

2. Create a strict schedule and follow it.

Follow a strict schedule. Creating a schedule and sticking with it will allow you to keep your mind in a healthy space and prevent making time for people and places you shouldn’t be. Go to bed at a decent time and wake up early, eat three balanced meals, exercise or even start that new project you’ve been thinking about for the past 6 months. Make time for what is important to you.

3. Acknowledge your feelings.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings, and don’t be afraid of them. It might seem uncomfortable at first but is part of having healthy mental habits. Ask yourself how you feel, what made you feel that way and would you want it to play out differently next time?

4. Write in a journal.

Journaling is a great way to express your feelings that you just acknowledged. Writing your thoughts and feelings allows you to get them out in a private and efficient way.

5. Find a healthy coping mechanism you enjoy.

Do something that makes you feel good. A healthy coping mechanism. You can work out, create some art, cook a favorite recipe, go for a walk or rearrange your living space.

6. Keep distance from bad temptations.

Stay away from your old friends or family whose views don’t align with yours anymore. Don’t go into spaces that make you uncomfortable or tempt you to retract back to old habits you are growing away from.

7. Seek professional help.

Seek a professional’s help. Apply for an inpatient stay, outpatient therapist or an online virtual IOP program. If you already have a therapist but haven’t gone for a while, schedule an appointment. Keep yourself accountable.

8. Be honest with yourself and others.

Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself how you are feeling and what do you need to better yourself? Know when you have met your personal limits. Be your own advocate.

9. Be okay with saying no.

Get into the habit of being okay to say no. An old friend who isn’t a good influence invited you out and you know it isn’t in your best interest? Say no. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your personal needs above anyone else.

10. Utilize a budget.

Utilizing a budget will allow you to prevent financial stress that often comes with the holidays. Having fun doesn’t require you going broke. Utilizing a strict budget can also prevent you having extra money laying around to purchase drugs or alcohol.

11. Avoid drugs and alcohol.

Avoid drugs and alcohol. Avoid situations that may have drugs or alcohol. Request that your family have a drug and alcohol-free gathering.

12. Find or create a safe space.

Finding or creating your safe space is important. Know of that place that you feel safe in and are most comfortable in. If you can’t think of one, try to make one in your living space. Clean it up, maybe rearrange the furniture and get a new pillow or blanket to make it more comfortable.

13. Set boundaries with friends and family.

Setting boundaries is a part of being your own advocate. Set boundaries with your friends and with your family, and if they choose not to respect your boundaries, maybe it is in your best interest to spend time away from them.

14. Learn a new skill or hobby.

Learning a new skill or hobby is a great way to create new coping mechanisms and fill in an open space you have in your schedule. You can try running, yoga, learn a new painting technique, listen to a new genre of music or something else — the options are endless. Find one that fits into your budget. Remember that starting something new doesn’t have to cost money.

15. Take time to relax every day.

Taking time to relax allows you to get your mind in the space you want it to be. You can meditate, take a warm bath or shower, sip on a warm coffee or tea, give yourself a massage or even do a face mask. Take your relaxation time seriously and be present with yourself in the moment.

Contact Michiana Behavioral Health

Located in Plymouth, Indiana, Michiana Behavioral Health offers a therapeutic environment for patients and their families to improve their lives and focus on recovery. In addition to mental health, inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment for adults, we also provide programs mental health programs for children & teens. We provide board certified and child-trained psychiatrists and experienced, masters-level clinicians for all treatment programs.

We’re only 35 minutes from South Bend, and within a couple of hours of most major metro cities in the tristate area.

For questions about our program, call 800-795-6252 or use our online contact form.