The holidays, for most, are a time of joy, but they also bring with them a whopping load of stress. And after spending months feeling overwhelmed with pandemic news and political upheaval and racial divide, we entered the season already depleted. It is more important now than ever to take an honest assessment of our current overall health, including how we’re feeling mentally.
Beginning today, the day before Christmas, we encourage you to take a look around you, wherever that may be, take a deep breath and ask yourself one simple question: How am I feeling right now? Am I overwhelmed? Anxious? Depressed? Do I feel like recovery from these feelings is impossible? We’d like to share a few ways you can overcome those feelings and look forward to a happy, healthy year – the best gift of all.
Work with a trusted provider
First and foremost, be sure to communicate honestly with your medical provider. Let your physician know if you have been feeling extremely blue, are feeling helpless or have experienced suicidal thoughts. Even if things aren’t that extreme, speaking with your doctor if anything feels “off” is a good idea. Start the year off with a clean bill of health and with a plan for your mental well-being.
Assess your financial situation
It can be easy to spend money frivolously in the weeks before Christmas, but when the holiday is over, balancing the checkbook can be filled with anxiety. We shared a recent post about how to alleviate some of that stress when times are hard, which they are for so many. Be sure to check it out here: https://leapfoundationdc.org/creating-a-financial-plan-during-hard-times/
Tender love and care
Whether you are working remote, you’re an online student or you’re in a stressful profession – whatever the reason causing your stress – take some time for you. It isn’t selfish. It’s actually quite thoughtful to think of yourself once in a while and give yourself some much-needed love. Plan a day or two to come down from the holidays doing something you love. Read a good book, dust off a favorite hobby, catch up on sleep or binge watch your favorite series. This focused time should be committed to reducing negative thoughts and replacing the harmful overload of stress chemicals with much-needed serotonin and dopamine.
Out with the bad, in with the good
And speaking of “happy chemicals,” there is no better way to naturally boost your brain’s production of feel-good hormones than to squeeze in a good exercise regularly. Take some time to explore the many options offered through smart devices and connect with something that doesn’t just give you a workout, but that’s enjoyable to you. This might be found in yoga or Tai Chi or something focused on cardio like kick-boxing or Zumba.
The holidays are all about believing in magic. Remember that feeling you used to get as a child anticipating Christmas morning? You felt that way because you BELIEVED there was something magical taking place. We encourage you to believe that the future will be bright for our country and our world. Imagine that world – one that is free of the fear of a deadly virus, one in which people of all colors unite for a common cause and are provided equal rights, and one where we are more grateful for physical connections we share with others.