• Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community (World Health Organization).

    Sometimes the holiday season is thought to increase mental health challenges for some people. In a Psychology Today article from November 2022, “Minding Your Mental Health This Holiday Season”, author Paula Durlofsky, Ph.D., offers a few suggestions to plan for and protect your mental health during the holiday season:

    1. Identify your holiday triggers. Triggers are people, places, and things that remind us of a past trauma or upsetting event. Knowing your own holiday triggers helps to put plans in place to reduce holiday-related stress. An example of a plan could be engaging in self-soothing practices like taking warm baths, going for walks, or watching silly TV shows.

    2. Give yourself permission to feel your emotions. Tell yourself it’s really OK if you’re not feeling particularly “merry or joyous” this holiday season. In general, this might seem counterintuitive, but denying negative feelings tends to result in us feeling worse, not better.

    3. Limit or take a break from social media. 

    4. Be patient with yourself. It’s important to keep in mind that it takes time, patience, and self-compassion to sort out complicated emotions and to understand the full circumstances surrounding them.

    5.  Practice self-compassion this holiday season. We are more likely to be critical of ourselves when we feel down or ashamed. One way you can practice self-compassion this holiday season is by treating yourself as you would a good friend. 

    6. Reach out. If your usual pattern is to feel more lonely, depressed, or isolated during the holiday season, make plans with trusted friends and family. 

    7. Talk with a mental health professional. Sometimes our own efforts to improve our holiday-related stress or our emotional health around this time of year are not as effective as we had hoped. 

    For the full article, please visit Psychology Today

    At SSC, we are dedicated to equipping our region with the supports needed to promote mental health in our schools, businesses, and local government.