All of December is spent preparing for the holidays. And let’s face it: it can be too much. Our efforts go towards planning and organizing holiday dinners and parties. We spend more than we can afford on gifts and decorations. We see family and friends day after day. But after all the hype and adrenaline has run out, what’s left? In a short few hours, all of that time, money and socialization is gone. If you’re anything like the 20% of Canadians who experience anxiety, then you’re struggling to get through the last few days before work or school resume. Here are some strategies to get you through until your regular schedule kicks back in.
I’m not a psychic. But I’d bet that somebody in your household got a colouring book this year. And though I didn’t truly believe that a colouring book could cure my depression, I tried it because I’m a creatively-minded individual with zero talent in drawing and painting. And I have to admit: I believe it now. Try focusing on the small details and let your mind take a break. A friend of mine pointed out that colouring is one activity where she never gets distracted by her phone.
Avoid social media
Because, guess what? Social media is known to have a negative effect on our mental health. Studies have shown that social media can increase cases of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and also cause anti-social behaviours. Instead of avoiding the outdoors and sitting inside on Facebook or Twitter, leave your phone at home and go on a walk. Don’t use “but I may need to take pictures for Instagram” as an excuse to bring that baggage with you. Grab an old digital camera. It’s probably better anyway.
Use those giftcards
I had a friend whose anxiety got worse due to the increased spending around the holidays. This would then cause her to hoard her gift cards that she got as presents from friends and family. Don’t bother. Not only do some gift cards decrease in value over time, but they’re meant to be spent! Enjoy a dinner out with your friend or partner or buy yourself something nice. You deserve it.
Embrace being alone
It may seem hard, at first, considering you probably haven’t been alone in a week. But this one is so important. Don’t feel pressured to say ‘yes’ to every invite to parties and events. Staying busy can take a toll on your well-being. Instead, focus on yourself. When was the last time you took a long bath? And don’t be embarrassed to go to bed early, the sleep will only help to get you back on schedule.
Keep a journal
Sometimes you need to express yourself without anybody listening. I’ve written in a journal since I was 7, and it has only transformed as I’ve gotten older. Though I consider blogging an option too, it is less-private if you’ve shared your website with anyone. Try adding doodles or images to make the process more creative and enjoyable. And be as honest as you can.
Photo courtesy of Cole Patrick via StockSnap.io
Deanna is an online managing editor for onthedanforth.ca and a designer for On the Danforth summer edition. When she’s not over-organizing her life, she’s probably watching Survivor in a onesie. You can creep her Instagram here.