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The holidays are always exciting, however, it can be a lot! Some of us may have family to visit, some of us may have chosen family to gather with, some of us may be feeling quite lonely during this time of year. We are inundated with movies and tv shows that romanticize the holidays, but sometimes the reality is that it's stressful, overwhelming, or lonely! With that being said, we want to encourage everyone to be mindful of their own mental health this year and share a few tips on how to overcome the possible challenges this holiday season! 

These tips were a consolidation of insights from Dr. Jose Alberto Reyes of De La Salle University. These were presented during the general assembly for Benilde School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management in Manila, Philippines. 

6 MENTAL HEALTH TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

1. Anxious feelings are not abnormal

  • You're not alone, many people feel anxious during the holidays. There's so much to do, so much money spent, so many people to see, etc! It becomes harmful  when you “catastrophize” it, thinking of the worst-case scenarios, which more often than not, doesn't happen. Do your best to be realistic in the way you look at things. Easier said than done, but try to focus on the positive glimmers.

2. Reach out to family, chosen family, and friends

  • When people get stressed, they have the tendency to avoid others or even isolate. Our brain is wired in such a way that we don't want to be a burden to others. If you find yourself in this mindset, try not to turtle, reach out. The holidays are a great time to connect with the people you love.

3. Establish a routine

  • Especially during the shorter days with less daylight, it's important to establish some kind of routine to keep yourseld moving and feeling good. Routines have been proven to improve one's mental health. Establish a daily routine and schedule to maintain a semblance of order and a sense of normalcy amongst the chaos.

4. Take care of your body, inside and out

We speak about gut-brain axis all the time so taking care of your gut is taking care of your mind! 

  • Eat healthy food and hydrate yourself. Be mindful of the food you eat. As much as possible, you should consume those, which are good for the body or are not harmful to your health. Drink a lot of water.
  • Get enough sleep. Use the holidays to catch up on your sleep. A regular bed time routine is a good step toward a better night’s sleep. Turn your devices into silent mode and put them away at least 30 minutes be fore bed time.
  • Move your body. Be active while having a bit of fun. Exercise releases endorphins and chemicals that relieve stress and pain in the body. Thus, the more you exercise, the more happy hormones you release.

5. Self care

  • Engage in self care!!! Take some time to unwind and remind yourself that any stress or overwhelming feelings will fade! Be kind to yourself through self care which will help you become stronger and more resilient when dealing with stress. It's exactly what they say on the airplanes-- you have to put the mask on yourself before others! Nonetheless, engage in activities you enjoy, or find relaxing such as gardening, massage, watching tv, etc! 

6. Practice gratitude

  • This can be easier said than done but it is important to adopt a gratitude mindset. When all seems hopeless, don't try to think of the grandiose things, be grateful even for the little things and accomplishments (ex. your body for being here in this moment, the food you're eating, someone smiling at you at the grocery store, the cold crisp air outside). These small acts of gratitude help you affirm the goodness around you and helps you turn your attention towards things that make life worth living!

Don't feel pressure to do all of these, keep them in mind, think of where you can incorporate them. If you are feeling extremely down, remember to seek professionals. 

Wishing you all a happy new year, and if you're in need of some friendly folks, apply to the DotCom this holiday for some good vibes! 

 

 

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