Editorial: Give yourself the gift of mental health

Don't over extend yourself this holiday season, take time to reflect, and get some exercise

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of mental health.

This doesn’t mean turning into a Grinch and hiding out for the next week. Humans are social animals and in short bursts, extended family members can be a source of joy and solace. Partying with friends, neighbours and co-workers is also a time-honored tradition that can enhance relationships.

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But it’s also important to maintain vital physical and mental health. Here are some ways to make the season brighter for yourself and everyone around you.

• Talk it out. Holiday stress getting you down? Talk it out with a loved one, a trusted friend or a health-care professional. It sounds simple but sharing your thoughts with another trusted individual can relieve some of the burden.

• Do not over-extend yourself. Do you have a new baby that everyone wants to visit? Maybe have one event that all can join in, or see a few closest relatives and promise to see the rest in the quieter moments of the new year. This is the time to set boundaries based on your own mental health needs so you can relax and spend time with people you care about.

• Take it easy on the booze and rich foods. Alcohol is a depressant and having a few too many spirits can actually dampen your spirit. Also, too many treats can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. Try to maintain your regular eating and sleeping habits as much as possible. This is good advice any time of year, but this time of year even more so.

• Stay within budget. This is a no-brainer but hard to do when there are so many ways to shop and so many people to please. But remember, come January, those bills can add up and finances can become a huge source of stress. Make yourself a budget for the season and stay within it.

• Manage your wellness. Consider establishing routines that will make you feel better, such as regular exercise, meditation, time with friends and family or other activities.

• Give more than you receive. Nothing boosts the endorphins more than volunteering or giving to charity.

These are good tips any time of year, but particularly now, when the Christmas present quickly turns into the Christmas past. Let’s make these days positive and memorable.

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