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5 ways to protect your mental health during thanksgiving

5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health During Thanksgiving

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. There are expectations of spending time with family, often combined with financial stressors. For some, the holiday season triggers memories of loss or trauma. If you're struggling this Thanksgiving, know that you're not alone and there are ways to take care of yourself, such as mental health counseling. Here are some tips for protecting your mental health during the holidays.

1. Stick to your normal routine

Maintaining a consistent daily schedule is crucial for those with ADHD. However, having a daily routine is crucial if you suffer from other mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, OCD, anxiety, or depression. A study published in the Lancet Psychiatry found that developing (and maintaining) a daily routine enhances your capacity for sound sleep at night, lessens emotional challenges, and promotes general mental health.

However, holidays present numerous temptations to stray from your regular schedule. As much as you can, try to maintain your daily routine. While the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI) acknowledges that it may be challenging during the holidays, they advise maintaining your routine to the greatest extent feasible. Don't abandon your regular morning routine, even if you're planning a Thanksgiving dinner with family in the evening.

Just a short reminder regarding your medications: If you take them regularly, keep them on schedule, even over the holidays. Except as directed, you shouldn't change your prescription regimen or skip a dosage. If you believe the schedule changes may result in you forgetting to take your medication, think about setting a reminder on your phone.

2. Don’t skip your workout 

There is an endless number of advantages of exercise. According to a study published in the Primary Care Companion for Clinical Psychiatry, exercise improves your mood, lowers stress levels, and offers you quiet time to unwind and ponder.

There are several ways to fit some exercise into your Thanksgiving Day schedule:

  • Take a stroll around the block by yourself or with your family.
  • Before your meal, take a trek in the morning.
  • Throw a football onto the field.
  • Take your dog for a walk and do additional laps around the block.
  • Start the day with a workout on the internet.
  • Dance when the music is playing.

Take advantage of the great weather and do your workout outside. Harvard researchers concur that spending time in outdoors might improve your attitude.

3. Prioritize sleep for your mental health

You might be preoccupied with cleaning, planning, and decorating if you're hosting Thanksgiving. Don't allow the fun and activity of the day to keep you from obtaining enough rest. Your mental and physical health may be impacted if you consistently lack sleep. Research specifically ties sleep loss to a higher incidence of sleeplessness and higher levels of irritation. Aim for 7-9 hours of cool, dark sleep each night. For 1-2 hours before bed, refrain from using blue lights (such as TV, iPads, or phones).

4. Create a Budget for Thanksgiving Décor or Meals

Thanksgiving can add financial stress to your list of worries. Stress has an evident impact on your mental health. Create a budget for any out-of-the-norm expenditures — things that often aren't in your monthly budget — if the prospect of them makes you more anxious. For your gatherings, this can include food and decorations. Once you've established a budget, follow it! Add that to your budget if you anticipate doing any holiday shopping after Thanksgiving.

5. Practice Healthy Stress Management Techniques 

It's not feasible to completely eliminate all sources of stress, even if you attempt every suggestion on this list, and that's good. The best course of action is to decrease as much stress as possible and then learn effective stress management skills to handle the remaining tension.

It may be tempting to relax at Thanksgiving (or any other stressful occasion) by consuming more alcohol, using food as comfort, or even utilizing drugs. The long-term consequences of these coping methods could be worsened issues. However, you may be ready by making a list of productive ways to relieve stress. According to MentalHealth.gov, you should exercise, get fresh air, meditate, read a comforting book, create art, and conduct deep breathing exercises.

Conquer Your Mental Health at Impact Family

The holidays can be a tough time for many people. If you find yourself struggling during the holiday season, remember that you are not alone. Many resources are available to help you get through this time of year. 


At Impact Family, we offer counseling services to help you work through any mental health issues you may face. We also have a blog with articles about protecting your mental health during the holidays and all year long. Be sure to check out our website or give us a call today at (305) 928-2295 to learn more about how we can help you conquer your mental health! Start your first intake session today.