Tips from CMC’s Outpatient Behavioral Health can help the season be merry and bright.
The holidays are officially here and while the spirit of the season fills the air, some of us – or even many of us – may feel a little extra stress this time of year. In addition to the pressure of Christmas to-do lists and family gatherings, shorter days and colder weather can trigger the blues. Some tips from CMC’s Outpatient Behavioral Health can help the season be merry and bright.
-Take up good daily habits: curb caffeine and sugar intake, rest well, treat physical illness, exercise in moderation, and avoid non-prescribed mood altering drugs.
-Breathe deeply: good, deep, belly-filling breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth, can calm your body and mind.
Beyond day-in, day-out coping techniques, there are also evidence-based ways to live a less stressful life.
-Practice mindfulness: turn your attention to where you want it to be; observe your thoughts, emotions and actions without reacting to them; pay attention to just one thing in the moment. Practicing mindfulness can improve your immune system, well being, and social relationships while reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
-Let yourself be happy: there are seven identified habits of happy people – relationships, acts of kindness, exercise and physical well being, flow (letting yourself enjoy the moment), spiritual engagement and meaning, strengths and virtues of self, and positive mindset.
Of course, stress and anxiety can be cause by a deeper condition or be the result of larger, harder-to-manage issues. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a recurring disorder that can happen in the darker, colder winter months. There are treatment options and coping skills to manage SAD as well as other conditions. If you’re concerned that your holiday stress is something more, contact your primary care provider about a referral to a mental health professional.