By Niku Sedarat
The holiday season is typically associated with joy, connection, and community, revolving around the themes of family and togetherness. However, for those who find themselves without these elements in their lives, this time of year can be particularly challenging. Loneliness can cast a shadow over the festivities, making it all the more crucial to prioritize mental health during this period. So, how can you make the most of this season while also embracing your well-being?
In the midst of stress and difficulty, self-care becomes not just a luxury but a necessity. Establishing a daily self-care routine can make a significant difference in making self-care part of your daily life. Consider activities such as taking a warm bath, practicing mindfulness, cooking a delightful meal, watching a favorite movie, or immersing yourself in a good book. These small acts of self-love can contribute to maintaining a positive mindset during the holidays.
Taking care of your physical well-being is just as important as tending to your mental health. Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine. Exercise is proven to have numerous benefits for mental health, serving as a powerful mood booster during challenging times. Getting out in the sunlight is especially helpful during the winter season.
Plan Solo Celebrations:
Isolation, or the physical lack of people around you, doesn't have to equal loneliness. Striking a balance between connecting with others and spending quality time with yourself is crucial. Empower yourself to plan solo celebrations that bring you joy, like cooking a favorite meal, enjoying festive movies, or indulging in a fun hobby. Recognize that you deserve the same love and attention that you extend to others.
Remember - physical distance does not have to hinder your ability to connect with loved ones. Schedule regular virtual meet-ups with friends or family through calls, facetime, or even Zoom. Not only does this bridge the physical gap, but it also fosters a sense of connection, providing a virtual space to share conversations, laughter, and memories.
Find a Support Network:
For those without immediate family, building a support network is critical. This network extends beyond blood relations and can include friends, online resources like support groups, and mental health professionals. Seeking support during tough times is not only acceptable but warmly encouraged.
Set Realistic Expectations:
Release the pressure to meet societal expectations of a perfect holiday season. It's perfectly okay to acknowledge that not every moment needs to be picture-perfect, and it's entirely normal to experience a range of emotions. Embrace the reality of the situation and allow yourself the freedom to feel.
In the absence of a supportive community, seek out opportunities to engage with communities built on support and kindness. Volunteering not only provides a sense of purpose but also facilitates connections with others in the community, diminishing feelings of isolation. Find how to volunteer at Unité here: Get Involved | unitémentalhealth (uniteyouthmentalhealth.com)
As we witness the celebratory, cheerful celebrations of those around us during the holidays, it's essential to remember that it's okay not to feel the same way. Acknowledge your emotions, but also recognize your ability to navigate through challenging circumstances. You possess the strength, strategies, and resilience to make the best out of the situation you are in. Remember, you've got this! Visit more mental health resources here: Resources | unitémentalhealth (uniteyouthmentalhealth.com)