"It’s not always jolly": How to stay emotionally fit for the holidays

"It’s not always jolly": How to stay emotionally fit for the holidays

Stacey and J Sbu speak to a specialist about mental health and the holidays...

How to stay emotionally fit during the holidays
How to stay emotionally fit during the holidays/ iStock

With so much joy, love, and light being shared in the holiday season, there also comes another guest...

Stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Elvis once mentioned feeling blue at Christmas time - and we’re here to tell you: It’s perfectly normal to feel that way.

Read More: Mental Health: How much support do you get from your immediate circle?

There are a variety of reasons why your days may not be merry and bright around the holiday season. 

Perhaps it's the jam-packed social calendar, deadlines at work, the loss of a loved one, sunless winter days, or all of the above.

Studies by the American Psychological Association share that 38% of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse

The reasons given: lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving, and family gatherings.

Listen more: Stacey talks about her anxiety and mental health in special message for KZN

Stacey and J Sbu chatted with Rose-Lee Wheeler - a HPCSA registered clinical psychologist, about suicide, mental health, and many more difficult topics. Listen below: 

Here are some practical tips to help you this holiday season: 

  • Acknowledge your feelings.
  • Reach out for help. Whether it be a family member, friend or professional, talking about how you feel will help you get through it. 
  • Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. 
  • Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. 
  • Stick to a budget. Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Ensure you combat financial stress or pressure effectively.
  • Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
  • Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
  • Take a breather. Make some time for yourself.
  • Seek professional help if you need it. 

This is your sign to take control of your holiday period. With a little planning and some positive thinking, we hope that you can find peace and joy during the holidays.


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