Holiday wellbeing is real, but it can be hard to maintain. It’s wonderful that one of the things that makes us all human is our ability to celebrate. We search for meaning, we continually discover and re-discover meaning throughout our lives, and we celebrate that which we find meaningful. Celebrating the things in our lives, big and small, is one of the things that enhances well-being. As mentally healthy as celebrations are, they can also be overstimulating and exhausting. Knowing some of the benefits of celebrating can help you do it–and go to those gatherings and parties that can sometimes be obnoxious and draining. It helps, too, to know how to maintain your wellbeing when celebrations begin to overwhelm you.
Holiday Wellbeing: Reap Mental Health Benefits and Know the Difficulties
Holidays wellbeing takes many forms. Celebration typically means stepping out of ordinary routine, even if for just a short while. We celebrate achievements and birthdays and holidays both religious and secular. Wonderfully healthy! Celebrations offer numerous benefits. Gathering with friends and loved ones in honor of a holiday, achievement or milestone can:
- Re-energize us
- Renew our enthusiasm
- Strentgthen the connections we have with each other
- Inject some fun into our lives
- Be relaxing
As emotionally healthy as they can be, celebrations can overwhelm and overstimulate us. It’s great to step away from routine; however, sticking to routines is also important for well-being, and diverting from said routines can be exhausting. Further, celebrations often come with noise, brighter lights, more people and thus more (and louder) conversations, hard-to-resist unhealthy foods, and a sense of always being “on.” Ironically, celebrations that are meant to simultaneously energize and relax often end up draining and wiring at the same time–two conflicting psychological and physical reactions that themselves tend to be overwhelming.
How to Be Mentally Healthy Even When Celebrations Are Overwhelming
It would be a shame to avoid celebrations, for they really are good for us in many ways. It’s just not good to feel overstimulated in the wake of them. Feeling overstimulated and overwhelmed can lead to increased anxiety, irritability, exhaustion, and exaggerated emotional lows and highs. Thankfully, you can have your celebratory cake and stay well, too. There are ways to manage that overwhelmed, overstimulated feeling right in the midst of a celebration or afterward:
- Know yourself. What bothers you the most – Noise? Crowds? Smells? Sugar? A specific person? Different things bother different people. When you can identify what is the most irksome for you, you can be on alert for when you are starting to feel the effects.
- Tune into yourself. Can you feel a headache coming on? Are you beginning to feel anxious and jittery? Becoming impatient? To thine own self be true. When you notice your sense of well-being start to decrease, pick up the signals your body is sending and act on them.
- Do what makes you feel better. If things are getting too intense, step away. Step out for fresh air, slip into a quiet room, or otherwise put some space between yourself and your surroundings.
- Carry your phone and earbuds. When you step out for a break, you can play some relaxing sounds or music that makes you feel good. That is often enough to reset so you can enjoy yourself again.
- Breathe. You don’t even have to go anywhere for this one. Wherever you are, and often, take a series of slow, deep breaths. This is soothing to mind and body.
- Drink water. Our bodies crave water. Sodas and other beverages don’t fully hydrate, so they leave us feeling sluggish. Drinking water helps us stay physically and emotionally well.
- Eat well. Many of us associate celebrating with junk food. An afternoon, an evening, an entire day of grazing on sweets, chips, etc. takes its toll. Sure, indulge in some things, and enjoy them. But also include the healthier offerings that are likely available. Your taste buds might be disappointed, but they’ll get over it. And while they’re getting over it, you’ll feel better.
- Focus on the positive. Even during fun gatherings, irritating things, people, discussions, whatever crop up. Also, you yourself might make a blunder and say or do the wrong thing. Rather than letting the very human irritations ruin your day, focus on all that is going right, all that you are doing well, rather than what isn’t so perfect. A focus on the positive makes the not-so-positive much smaller.
Taking little measures to maintain holiday wellbeing and mental health during those fun but hectic, out-of-routine celebrations goes a long way to keep us feeling well. When we stay physically and psychologically healthy, we can enjoy ourselves more and better embrace our lives in any moment.