Mental Well-being During the Holidays and the New Year

Young woman meditating outside during winter

It’s easy to let the holiday season become a stressful and overwhelming time. There are many pressures to make perfect meals and lots of holiday memories. There is an overwhelming number of activities and obligations that need to be done. There are many demands on our wallets, personal time, and extra time with family members that may cause emotional stress. Add to those year-end work obligations and, oh yeah, the pandemic and it’s easy to see why so many people are feeling stressed.

We often neglect self-care and mental wellness even though we may need it even more than usual during this season. Regular exercise and eating habits go out the window, along with quiet downtime. All this leaves us feeling unhealthy, on edge, and unable to enjoy the holidays we work so hard to make memorable. It can also increase the likelihood of suffering a workplace injury as people are distracted, fatigued, in a hurry, or lack the usual motivation. Definitely not the right way to start the new year.

Instead, commit to incorporating self-care into your days this holiday season and into 2022. Taking care of yourself will help you reduce stress and feel more present during both job and family activities. Consider these points adapted from the Society for Human Resource Management.

  1. Keep a routine- Make a daily schedule; checking off items from the to-do list helps us feel accomplished. Schedule personal time, work time, family time.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep- This goes hand and hand with sticking with a routine/schedule.Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night is necessary for most people. Go to bed at the same time each night, listen to relaxing music, and avoid electronics 30 minutes before bedtime. For more information about sleep check out the resources from the Mayo Clinic and the Sleep Foundation.
  3. Spend time outside- Vitamin D is essential for proper health and deficiencies are common especially in the winter months. Direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of vitamin D. Get a few steps outside each day for better health.
  4. Safely connect with others- Most people are much more comfortable reaching out to others via technology than ever before. Do this often to help reduce the feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
  5. Recognize the good stuff- Taking a few minutes to write down what you’re grateful for has proven to lower stress and can help you change your mindset from negative to positive. Find the silver linings that are there when we look for them.
  6. Say no- sometimes the best way to reduce stress is to “just say no.” Declining the social gatherings you really don’t want to go to anyway can provide you with a few hours of free time. Avoiding the impulse purchases will reward you when the credit card bills are due.

It takes planning and a commitment to care for yourself to create a stress-free holiday season. With these ways to incorporate self-care into your holiday season, you will have the energy and mental well-being to enjoy your time with coworkers, family members, and friends. Should you or someone you know need some help consider these free mental health resources:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) – National Helpline: 800-662-4357
  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline- call or text 800-273-8255

Reach out to your Human Resources Department for additional information and resources as well as available benefits. You can also contact a MEMIC loss control representative for additional information. Everyone at MEMIC wishes you the very best in 2022.

Written by Jennifer Campbell and Jeremiah Lacross