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Navigating the Holidays

Holidays are often projected as an exciting time of year for a variety of reasons. With the leaves changing colors and falling off the trees, we begin to get into the holiday mindset of planning. Depending on the radio station, holiday music starts playing after Thanksgiving, and we start to see outdoor holiday decorations. We start to see holiday commercials as they advertise the newest technology or toys; we get excited about what we can potentially buy for our loved ones. Holidays are often described as a special time with family and friends. Whether it is continuing family traditions or adopting new cultural traditions, everyone starts to get in the “holiday spirit.” This time of year, there is a shift in society as everyone starts preparing for their own holiday event.

However, this time of year can also be very difficult for some individuals and families. While we like to assume the holidays are an exciting time for everyone, the holiday season may be a sensitive time for some individuals and families. This year may be the first time families or friends are without a loved one. Some individuals have the inability to travel or the inability to send or receive gifts. For some individuals, this time of year may also be a reminder of what they do not have. For other individuals, this may be a trigger, as it may cause negative feelings or flashbacks to a time where the holidays were not a pleasant experience in their household.

Whatever the holiday season means to you this year, it is important to practice self-care and boundaries. This time of year, people may overindulge in food or alcohol because it is a time to relax and enjoy themselves, or they may overindulge in food or alcohol as a coping mechanism to get through social gatherings. If this time of year is overwhelming, for some individuals, it may lead to excessive food and alcohol consumption. For other individuals, it may lead to being so caught up in holiday events, that they forget to eat or hydrate themselves. Instead of getting caught up in food or alcohol, I encourage you to focus on the here and now. Remove the stigma and stand true to your beliefs; the holiday season does not mean you have to numb out with alcoholic beverages.

Mindful Drinking Goals:

  • Setting a number of drinks to hold yourself accountable.

  • Drink water in between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated.

  • If you feel the need to socially drink, consider making mocktails to feel more inclusive.

Mindful Food Consumption:

  • Eat Slowly and plan ahead.

  • If you are hosting, try healthier recipes.

  • If you are a guest, offer to bring a healthier dish so you don’t overindulge.

Whatever your holiday season looks like, make sure to prioritize your own well-being and to practice self-care and self-love. Overindulgence of food and alcohol is only a temporary relief and can negatively impact your overall well-being. If you are someone that struggles with depression around the holidays, reach out to a friend, loved one, or mental health professional.

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