Do anxiety and depression join you during your holiday season? They certainly can hang around for a long time because for many of us worldwide, autumn and very early winter bring a steady stream of celebrations from traditions both secular and religious. This, of course, is generally a wonderful thing. Celebrating aspects of our lives is important for our mental health and wellbeing. It shifts our focus from “to-do” to “to-be,” from negative to positive. Celebrations also have the potential to connect people anew. They also present a plethora of opportunities to enjoy practicing mindfulness. Holidays can indeed be all this. However, they can also be stressful and even painful. Anxiety and depression skyrocket during the holiday season. There are things you can do to uninvite anxiety and depression from your holidays and replace them with peace, joy, love, and light.
Meaning-making is a powerful tool to enhance mental health and wellbeing. While useful year-round, turning inward and creating personal meaning in your life is especially effective in late autumn. Intentionally caring for our mental health in November allows us to enjoy the month and the changes it brings. Doing so can prepare us for the holiday season that begins this month, and it can even stave off seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder, SAD). Among the many things that can boost wellbeing is taking time to reflect and engage in personal meaning-making.
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.