5 Things to Remember This Holiday Season
Reprinted by permission from Live On Utah and the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Changing how we celebrate the holidays can be hard, and can have impacts on our mental health. Here are a few tips for how you can still make the holidays special while taking care of your mental health.
1. Have flexibility in celebrating traditions.
Flexibility has been the word of 2020. Holidays should be about creating memories, no matter what they look like. Plan with your family how you want to celebrate if you aren’t able to physically be together. Comfort comes when everyone can participate, even when you’re not in the same room.
2. Honor your Grief.
This year has been hard. It’s okay to take time to grieve what we have given up, lost, or had to change. Many of us lost loved ones this year—to COVID-19 and other causes—and may not have been able to gather and grieve in ways we typically have. The holidays can be a time to find a new way to honor their memory, reflect on the losses as well as set new traditions.
3. Set your own boundaries and respect others’ boundaries.
Dealing with COVID-19 during the holiday season may challenge the various boundaries we have in our lives: interpersonal, physical, emotional, spiritual, and temporal. As a reminder for anyone that needs to hear it this season: You are allowed to have an opinion. You are allowed to disagree with others, even someone you love and respect. You are allowed to express a hard “no.” You are allowed to change your mind.
4. Reach out.
The holidays are a great time to reach out and share your gratitude for others. Research suggests that when we express gratitude, this helps improve our own mood. Take time to check in with people you care about. Call, text, or send something that shows you are thinking about them.
5. Ask for help.
The holidays bring up many different emotions for people. 2020 in particular had its unique challenges, and stress, anxiety, and sadness are all typical reactions to the disruption we’ve experienced. We all, at some point, need help with our mental health. It can be as low-key as letting a friend or family member know you’re having a hard time and just need someone to listen. Professional resources are always available too: