Compass Health Center offers seven ways to improve mental health this season.
7 Ways to Achieve Balance for Better Mental Health This Holiday Season
CHICAGO, Oct. 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A recent scientific brief released by the World Health Organization found that in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25%. Over the past few years, holidays have looked different due to social distancing restrictions and safety guidelines. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic together, the excitement of being able to resume more of our holiday and family traditions may be associated with stressors related to holiday travel, larger in-person social events and a desire to make up for lost time. . This is further intensified by other seasonal stressors at work or school, in social circles, and within ourselves. Anna Finis, PsyD, Director of IOP for Children and Young Children at Compass Health Center – Chicago, explains, “As we approach the holiday season, where we may find ourselves pulled in different directions, we have the opportunity evaluate our priorities and fill our time intentionally Balance, in general, is not how we add to our day, but rather how we are more intentional with our time.
7 ways to achieve balance for better mental health throughout the holiday season:
Manage expectations and set boundaries – The holidays can be filled with “hot topics” that can easily snowball into serious disagreements leading to increased stress, anxiety and harmful thought patterns. Boundaries should be set that respect the values of the person setting them. It is restorative and empowering to set boundaries, even when others are not aligned with them.
Engage in Mindfulness – Finding a mindfulness practice that is realistic and practical for the time and energy you have is essential. Don’t be discouraged if you find mindfulness unintuitive at first; it takes practice. Mindfulness allows us to focus on the present moment when the stressors of what is to come become too much.
Align your activities and priorities with your key values – Values guide us by creating meaning and direction in our lives. Intentionally aligning your holiday traditions and priorities with your values helps you make confident, meaningful choices and reduces the potential for increased anxiety and doubt.
Practice self-compassion – It is easy to engage in negative self-talk when you feel overwhelmed; feelings of guilt, shame, and blame are not uncommon, and this cycle is detrimental to our mental well-being. Practicing self-compassion means giving ourselves the space and grace to make mistakes, seeking rest, and looking for ways to incorporate self-care into our routines.
Disconnect – There are pros and cons to living in a 24/7 world. While it’s wonderful to have the world at your fingertips, constantly seeing a flurry of news, updates, emails, text messages, and work requests can become overwhelming. Your brain and your body need rest. Once a week (or more!), turn off all devices and log out. Start with an hour and use that time to be just in the moment or practice your mindfulness.
SEEDS of practice – SEEDS is an acronym used in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) which stands for: Ssleep, Eour, Espend Dactor, and Self-Care/Sobriety. The practice of SEEDS begins by checking in with yourself how you are doing or feeling to help you understand why you are feeling the way you are. For example: Did you eat and are you eating in a nutritious way? Did you move your body today and did you get enough sleep last night? Have you thought about taking the medication prescribed by your doctor? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, SEEDS can guide you through the planning to get you back on track and change how you feel.
Ask for help – Talking to a mental health professional is a safe and realistic option and asking for help can provide you with a compassionate place to open up about your concerns or learn evidence-based skills to help you deal with intense emotions.
“The holiday season can feel like a juggling act made increasingly exhausting by the demands of work, planned meals with extended family, and expectations for gifts. Too often, the holidays are overshadowed by intense stress. and a feeling of being overwhelmed.Priorizing our mental health and well-being, which takes a little effort, is within our reach with just a few small steps in the weeks and months to come. .” said Katherine Early, LMSW, group therapist, Compass Virtual.
Protecting our mental health is neither selfish nor shameful; our emotions are valid and can tell us that our needs may not be being met. Seek professional behavioral health support if symptoms last longer than two weeks or affect your daily life.
Associate Director, Brand Management, Compass Health Center
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