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I Wish You Peace Joy and Mental Wellness

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I Wish You Peace Joy and Mental Wellness

Most of the time when we think of the Christmas Holiday season, Jesus should be the reason for the season as well as spreading joy to the world, however, it tends to be a lot of shopping until we drop.  As a nurse I know all to well that for many people the holidays bring stress, anxiety, or reminders of a lost loved one. It is a season of severe depression and higher suicide rates, but when you google for tips on how to stay healthy during the holidays, you will find hundreds of tips for healthy eating and none for our mental health. Mental wellness is just as important as physical well being, especially around this time of year. This holiday season take some time for your mental well-being and try out these 5 tips.

Secure your Bag!

There are a lot of reasons to spend during the holidays, be it travel, food, parties or gifts. As tempting as it might be to spend big on your loved ones, be realistic about your financial situation. Yesterday I was sooooo proud of myself. I went into Target for one item, and despite the many temptations I walked out with just that one item. Don’t get me wrong, in order to get that one item I had to pass the under $5 aisle as soon as I walked in, which has so many nick nacks that make you think, “Oh this would be a great gift, or its just $3”, then before I knew it I had a cart full of items I didn’t need. Lets not talk about my kryptonite, the workout area, their clothes are so enticing I have to force my way through. So, as I pushed my now full cart through the store and started to approach the check out counter, I investigated my cart and said, “Is this a NEED or a WANT?” Once I realized they were all “WANTS” except for the one item I went to Target for, I put everything back where I got it from.

TIP: Instead of maxing out your credit card this holiday, try using cash or debit for expenses.  Once you run out of cash, you stop buying. Next be honest with your friends and family about your budget and don’t allow them to sway you into debt. Make travel arrangements early.  And finally try giving hand made gifts. I know it sounds cheesy however my most treasured gifts are those made with love. And you might find a skill you didn’t know you had or a new found hobby. Some suggestions; knitted scarves, homemade jams and jellies, artwork, beaded jewelry, etc.

Don’t Supersize it!

During the holiday season it is easy to overindulge in food and alcohol while skimping on exercising. Be mindful about your portion sizes to avoid feelings of regret or guilt later.

Tip: Ask yourself, “Am I hungry or am I eating just to eat?” If it is just to eat, stop and try to understand what feelings you are trying to mask and find another activity to get that off of your mind. Eat before going to a holiday party because, more than likely they will not have healthy choices. If you’re going to indulge in alcohol, drink a glass of water between each new pour and have a bottle of water waiting in the car to drink on the ride home.

Help Others to Help Yourself!

Feeling isolated or alone during the holidays happens more often than we think.

TIP: To avoid these feelings, try volunteering at a local nonprofit or homeless shelter in your spare time. The feeling you experience when you help a total stranger and made them smile is priceless for your soul and mental health. If you know you become isolated during the holidays have friends/family check on you or call a hotline if you would rather keep these feelings personal. If you feel like you want to hurt yourself or others seek professional help immediately!

Remember the good times!

I received a text from my cousin recently that stated, “Please don’t wish me a Thanksgiving nor any other holiday”, I was so perplexed! I tried calling her after this random text, no answer, I texted her back a few times for her to respond, “After losing my dad, I am not in the “HOLIDAY MOOD”. I sent this text to others, so when the holidays roll around leave me out of the wishes. Thank You!”

TIP: Often we get so swept up in the holiday spirit that we forget many people are dealing with loss. If you know someone who is dealing with loss during the holidays, try to reach out and ask how you can help. Invite them to coffee or cook a meal for them. Acknowledge that this is a very hard time, but it is also time to create new traditions with those who are still present. Empathize with them because everyone grieves differently. My cousin lives out of state, so I sent her a “Heart of Michigan” basket that is filled with products made in Michigan and reminds me so much of my childhood. I sent a card that said, “Remember when your dad would take us bike riding and we would stop and get a bag of Better Made chips and a Faygo Pop. My goal was to help her focus on fond memories of his living and not so much dwelling on his death.

Spread Kindness!

It is suggested that committing small, random acts of kindness can make you feel happier. This holiday season get in the spirit of doing something small but kind for a stranger, friend, co-worker or family member. You might be surprised how you feel afterwards! I personally dress up everyday in festive workout clothes, the smiles on every face are priceless. So many people tell me, I wasn’t in the holiday season but seeing you festive everyday has changed my mood.

TIP: You can do something as simple as letting a car in front of you while stuck in traffic, paying for someone’s coffee, complimenting a total stranger, or leaving a kind note on a co-worker’s desk, especially one you don’t always get along with (watch this relationship change). As a child I still have fond memories of the love notes my mom would leave in my lunch box. Decorate you work station, wear a Santa hat or an “Ugly” Christmas sweater.

The holidays can be stressful on ones mental wellness however maintaining a healthy mindset is not impossible. This holiday season try one of these tips to reduce stress and most importantly remember to be kind to yourself. You can also use this time to reflect, shed the past and look forward to the future. Happy Holidays and No Mess


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