Setting Healthy Expectations & Habits During the Holidays

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With the holidays among us and the festivities that come with the season, it’s vital to set healthy expectations and habits so that we can make the most out of time with friends and family. Of course, holiday get-togethers come with a multitude of influences that can affect mental wellbeing, from overwhelming family gatherings to anxiously keeping an eye on work email, just in case.

Here are five tips to set yourself up for a successful and relaxing holiday season:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed with the number of people at the family gathering, or the barrage of small talk at a holiday party? It’s OK to take a minute (or five) to yourself. Don’t feel pressured to spend every moment with family and friends. We all need personal time to recharge, so stepping away is more than acceptable. 
  2. Let go of work and school and try to focus on the present. It can be tempting to open your phone and check work emails between dinner courses or look ahead at post-holiday homework assignments, but your holiday break should be just that – a break. Try to be in the moment – and how you show that is up to you. It could be a long, lively conversation with a relative or enjoying family movie night. Make it a worthwhile and restful time for everyone involved.
  3. Remind yourself that you deserve the time off. Take a moment and acknowledge that you work hard and have earned a restful holiday. This small step can make a world of difference for an anxious mind. But, of course, you always deserve time to rest, recharge and spend time doing the things that bring you pleasure, whether or not it’s the holidays. 
  4. Avoid constant phone usage to prevent doomscrolling. The holidays should be a time to focus on friends, family, and relaxation. However, the world around us can be distracting, pushing news articles, tweets, and alerts to our phones at all hours of the day. Social feeds are designed to keep users scrolling through an endless amount of content. And with the 24-hour news cycle and a constant stream of upsetting headlines, it’s often best to put the phones away, focus on enjoying time together and catch up on the relevant news later. 
  5. Stay within your comfort zone this holiday season. Friends and family may have a lengthy list of what they want to do over the holidays, ranging from annual traditions like cookie decorating to more extraneous activities like caroling through the neighborhood. While these activities are fun, it’s important to know that you don’t need to do everything and should vocalize if there’s something that you don’t want to do or don’t have the energy for. Family and friends will understand, and it gives you time to recharge for the next fun holiday festivity. 

Don’t let the holiday season get in the way of your mental health. While it’s a time filled with so many opportunities, remember to take a much-needed rest with loved ones and enter 2022 refreshed and ready for what’s next. 

The entire ADHD Online team wishes you a safe and relaxing holiday season!