Mental Health and the Holidays

5 Tips for Behavioral Health Providers to Manage Holiday Stress

The holidays can bring fun, joy and togetherness. However, the holidays can also be a time of stress, anxiety and depression. Challenges include family demands, financial concerns, social commitment overload and more. Stress seems to be synonymous with the holidays. So, how do people, specifically Behavioral Health Providers, stay mentally strong during this wintry season? It’s a fact that when you are stressed and exhausted you have less energy to give to others. Even caregivers need reminders every now and again!

So, here are 5 tips for Behavioral Health Providers to maintain sanity over the holidays:

1.) Attend to your Basic Needs

Everyone who works in behavioral health knows about the basics of self-care. Eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep, moving your body by exercising, and maintaining your social connections with supportive loved ones are all essential. Stick with your normal routine as much as possible.

2.) Boundaries are your friend

Boundaries are simply what you accept and don’t accept in your life. Healthy boundaries are needed to avoid feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. Feel good about saying “no” to events or parties that you’re genuinely not interested in. Let your family and friends know when you’ll be available for visitors and don’t budge out of guilt. If you’re taking care of your needs, everyone wins.

3.) Check in with yourself regularly

With the constant hub-bub of the holidays it’s easy to go a million miles a minute and lose yourself in parties, shopping, family events, etc. Be sure to take the time for yourself to take a breath and really check-in with how your feeling. Do you feel tense? fatigued? joyful? What you need in this moment? Take the appropriate actions to ensure your wellness.

4.) Make a plan & set a budget

Set reasonable goals for holiday expectations such as shopping, cooking and entertaining. Don’t overextend yourself when buying gifts for others. By planning ahead and keeping a goal in mind you’re less likely to overdo it personally and/or financially.

5.) When all else fails, keep the laughter alive

Okay…this is a big one. Don’t take life too seriously! Keeping a sense of humor about all the stress of the season will readjust your perspective. Looking at a story and re-framing the view or meaning is one basic way therapists help their clients. Do this for yourself! Humor is the best medicine!

So there you have it. BE YOUR OWN CLIENT this holiday season and be well. Warm wishes from all of us at Brown Consulting, Ltd.!

-Megan Phillips, M.A.

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