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Protecting your mental health during the holidays

Work stress
Posted at 5:18 AM, Nov 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-20 09:13:59-05

(WXYZ) — When we think of the holiday season a lot of us may think of family, food, and celebrations. But this time of year is often also very stressful, both emotionally and financially. That's why it's extremely important to take care of yourself.

Erin Hunter, Ph.D., Director of the Mary A. Rackham Institute (MARI) Mental Health Clinics at the University of Michigan shares ways on how to cope with holiday stress. She also gives ideas on how to take care of our mental health as we gather with family and close friends. They are posted below.

It’s ok if your holidays are not happy, or if they are a mixed emotional bag

  1. Holidays bring additional stressors (financial, planning, interpersonal) that can be hard to manage. For those living with grief, loneliness, illness, or mental health issues, the holidays can be especially complicated. 
  2. Being unhappy during the holidays does not mean that you are doing something wrong or that anything is wrong with you. You may just be noticing the realistic challenges that the holidays bring. 
  3. If you find yourself in a mental health crisis or are experiencing thoughts of suicide, reach out for help: friends, family, and/or call or  text 988 (Suicide & Crisis Hotline). 
  1. Set budgets: We all have limited time, money, and emotional resources. Going into “debt” in any of these areas leads to more stress and problems. 

    1. Remember that quality is usually more important than quantity. This applies to gifts and time spent with others. 
    2. Prioritize the most important activities and let go of the other stuff during the busy times.
    3. Remember to schedule meaningful-to-you activities and self-care time (e.g. sleep, exercise, hobbies, connecting with others); this gives you more resources to “spend.” 
  1. Consider random acts of kindness; they’re a “twofer” (2 for 1). They make others and us feel good.