How To Start Mentally Preparing for The Holidays - COPE

How To Start Mentally Preparing for The Holidays

Ahhh, the holidays. They’re right around the corner! It can be so wonderful and joyous when we’re in a good place, but it may feel like too much for some people to face this year.

Everyone is unique and has different needs when it comes to mentally preparing for the holiday season. Perhaps your biggest hesitation in gathering around others to enjoy the season is COVID. Or maybe you are grieving or thinking of a lost loved one. It’s also likely that you’re feeling overwhelmed by the upcoming holiday season in general.

Unfortunately, you cannot pause the holiday countdown. However, you can prepare your mind for what lies ahead and address the thoughts and worries on your mind this time of year.

Here are some tips for how to take care of yourself and mentally start preparing for the holidays:

Get clear on your intentions before the holidays start

Set aside time now to reflect on a few important things. Ask yourself some questions like: what do I want out of this holiday season? What do I not want? How will I manage situations and emotions when I start to feel overwhelmed?

For instance, if you’re at a family gathering and you begin to feel a sudden wave of emotion coming on. Do you know the most effective way for you to cope? Will you permit yourself to leave if it’s the best decision for you?

Set healthy boundaries

Setting boundaries can seem tricky. But remember that boundaries don’t have to mean completely pulling away from others. Instead, they’re about knowing that it’s okay to avoid certain situations when you need to.

When it comes to holiday gatherings, err on the side of caution by choosing to hang out with people who accept and understand how you’re feeling. If you have a family member or friend that triggers uncomfortable feelings, setting boundaries with them will help you stay in a more positive mental space. Avoid taking on any work projects that add more stress to your
days and keep you from doing good things for your health.

Some people might not understand if you decide not to spend time with them during the holidays – like if you’re worried over COVID, for example. Try setting boundaries in a gentle, respectful way by saying something like: “I want to spend time with you, but it’s hard for me to be in big groups of people right now. Let’s meet after the holidays are over.”

Take care of yourself

There are many times where we recognize other people’s feelings and obligations before our own. If you know that making too many plans or spending time around others can be tiring for you, make sure you have self-care activities on your calendar, too.

The same goes for anyone spending too much time alone due to social distancing. Be sure to take care of yourself no matter what this season. Self-care could consist of yoga at home, binge-watching your favorite show, taking a bubble bath, or buying yourself a new outfit.

Start a bucket list of things you want to do for YOU

We often think about our lost loved ones when we’re feeling especially down during the holidays. Some time to reflect is okay, but it’s not healthiest when we stay inside and do only that.

You can make a list of things that bring you joy or new things you want to try this holiday season. Maybe it’s trying a new recipe or doing a drive-thru holiday light show. What kinds of fun memories can you create for yourself? Consider how nice it will be to have a list in front of you for the days where you aren’t feeling super motivated.

Don’t Ignore Depression Symptoms

Sadness and grief are normal feelings in life. But, when symptoms linger and impact your daily life, it could be a sign of depression. Luckily, antidepressants and therapy help many people. Unfortunately, one-third of people aren’t helped by antidepressants or experience unwanted side effects like weight gain. The good news is ketamine can help when nothing
else does!

Patients who come to our clinics have tried other treatments to no avail, and are looking for something more revolutionary than the standard protocol. If you or someone you love is suffering from treatment-resistant depression, we encourage you to reach out to a COPE supported center near you to learn more about these innovative, effective, evidence-based
treatments.