Thursday, December 19 | Cause Connected, Human Services

12 Ways to Keep Your Spirit Merry and Bright This Holiday Season

By Tricia Zerger, Director of Child & Family and Developmental Services

Sometimes, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year. Hear from Tricia Zerger, Netsmart human services community marketing director, on ways we can keep mental health at the forefront, especially as the holiday season is upon us.
 
For many people, the holiday season is a time of joy, laughter and cheer. However, for a lot of individuals, the holidays aren’t always so merry and bright. This time of the year can bring a lot of unwelcome anxiety, stress and heightened depression. Although a spark in negative emotions is not limited to a certain time of the year, the holiday season can have a way of making things seem more difficult. 
 
I challenge everyone, including myself, to be brave enough to express how we’re really feeling this season. Let’s unwrap authentic connections and light up mental health awareness. Check out these 12 tips to help keep your mind, body and spirit bright throughout the holiday season. 
 
  1. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Practice self-care techniques that have worked for you in the past 
  2. Get by with a little help from your friends. Even if you rarely see the person, make plans to see them once this season 
  3. Download the Virtual Hope Box app which can help remind you of the positive things in your life by uploading photos, quotes and music that “spark joy”
  4. Practice mindfulness, which has been shown to improve relationship satisfaction, reduce stress and increase empathy
  5. Gift giving comes in many forms; volunteer to help others in need 
  6. Keeping a journal, meditation, sun exposure or exercise can all help to fight depression and anxiety
  7. ZZZs! Don’t forget the importance of sleep. Check out the myStrength app to help get your sleep on track 
  8. Start a new tradition – If you’re worried that repeating an old tradition will make you sad, create new ones
  9. Grant yourself permission to feel what you are feeling; it’s better for you 
  10. It’s okay to spend time alone, as it can cultivate confidence 
  11. Set limits on social media 
  12. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Make it your mantra. Grab a dry erase marker and write it on your mirrors or make it a reminder in your phone
 
Managing mental health is not easy and your peers’ jolly good spirits may not be helping. While these feelings can be isolating and often unexplainable, know that you are never alone. Continue to prioritize yourself, try to focus on the good and lean on others for support when you need it. 
 
It’s important to note the difference between seasonal blues, which typically go away in a brief period of time and a more serious mental health issue. Both are real and should be taken seriously, however the latter may require more support strategies. If heightened anxiety and depression continue for an extended period of time and impact your daily activities, consider seeking professional guidance.
 
If you or a loved one are in need of immediate mental health assistance, contact the following: 
  • SAMHSA National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) 
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273- TALK (8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text MHA to 741741 
  • Coming Soon: 3 Digit Hotline 988
 
Tricia Zerger is the human services community marketing director for Netsmart. She has a master’s degree in Professional Counseling and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas. Tricia serves as one of two Netsmart Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainers. Netsmart has certified more than 600+ of its more than 1,700 associates in various locations across the country, with a goal of 100% certification.
 

Meet the Author

Tricia Zerger Blog Photo
Tricia Zerger · Director of Child & Family and Developmental Services

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