5 ways to preserve your mental health during the holidays.

There’s a popular scripture that reads, “In all things, give thanks.” But what happens when you have nothing but life… nobody but self? When one is alone and devastated, and the holidays seem to make the dreadful feelings of depression and anxiety totally outstrip their body, do they succumb to their darkness or use alchemy to make light out of a dispiriting situation?

The holidays can be a tough time for many, and with COVID still lingering around, many people are being forced to spend the holidays alone and in isolation. For some of us, this isn’t new. I personally stopped spending holidays with my family about three years ago when my diagnosis got to a point where I was practically unbearable. However, there are those who don’t have the mental energy or capacity to process what being alone during the holidays entails, and as a result, they are battling serious mental health demons as they try to make it through the holidays.

My best advice to anyone who is feeling lonely, depressed or suicidal during the holidays is to first seek help. I know that might not be the first thing you want to hear, but trust me, it helps. Whether it’s calling the suicidal hotline and talking it out with a stranger, or calling your friend just to hear their soothing, familiar voice; I promise you, talking to someone will help. That is step one to getting out of the Thanksgiving/holidays funk. TALK IT OUT. Then, take a deep breath and trust in the abundance of the universe. Breathe and know that all will be well. That every moment is a divine undertaking, every second a chance to redeem yourself. Cry it out if you must, just BREATHE and acknowledge where you are, and be grateful for it. Because this too shall pass.

The next thing I would suggest is doing some type of self-care ritual. my favorite self-care ritual is to take a long bath with Epson salts and candles lit, but since I’m currently not able to do that, I settle with a hot shower instead. This allows me to recenter and think back to who I truly am. There’s something divine about water and the sensation it brings about when it hits our earthly skin. And that sensation is often enough to have me bounce back from the tragedy of spending holidays alone.

The third tip I’d give is to journal it down. Write down your thoughts, feelings, your ups and your downs. Write down what’s making you happy, sad, bewildered or otherwise. There is power in the art of writing, and science has proven that writing often can develop thought processes; relax the brain by clearing the mind and creating similar outcomes to meditation; and even strengthen confidence. I myself can definitely attest to these benefits and many more, all of which I will highlight in an upcoming post. Writing has truly saved my life on multiple occasions, and I treasure my journals deeply because they helped me calm down without manifesting my anger.

The fourth tip I’d like to give is to catch up on some rest. Researchers have proven that sleep deprivation has major implications such as draining your mental abilities and putting your physical being at risk. We’ve all heard of the popular warning that driving without sleep is like driving drunk, but worse. It’s true. As someone who’s gone up to a week without sleep before, I can tell you that the only place you’re headed by depriving yourself of sleep is the Emergency Room. You must give your body and brain the adequate rest that they need.

My fifth and final word of advice would be to stay away from any negativity. The holidays are supposed to be a time of great joy and thanksgiving. Anything that does not serve you, LET IT GO. Just like Ella. Let it go! If it doesn’t serve you now, it more than likely will not serve you in the future, so you’re better off just learning to live without it. This is a non-negotiable. Toxic family members, toxic friends, toxic relationships in general, leave it all at bay. Studies have shown that you are the average of the five people you spend your most time with, so if you don’t want to be around anything that doesn’t reflect on you, just don’t do it. Your mental health is so much more precious and valuable than being in a space where you feel limited, small or persecuted, so find your happy place and stick to it.

There’s so much more to be said about how to keep your mental health in tact during the holiday season, but I’ll leave you with these five tips for now. Whether you are spending Thanksgiving and the holidays alone or with a ton of family and friends, remember that you are loved and you are valuable, and no one event defines who you are. You don’t feel up for the partying? Fine. You want to spend the holidays surrounded by people you know and love? Go for it. The former doesn’t make you lame or a loser, and the latter doesn’t make you an attention seeker. Just know what you want, and be thankful that you are blessed with the gift of life to experience all of these bizarre feelings life brings about.

Remember, Tuko Pamoja. That’s Swahili for “We’re in this together.”

Thanks for tuning into my blog, Turkey day edition.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.s. I had a lovely thanksgiving just cuddled up, reading and writing. Oh to love and be loved.

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