This subject is sensitive to some, but I believe it needs to be addressed.
Hi, I am Claudia and my past depression and burn out helped me developed my passion for mental health which later made me a Mental Health Ally in Accenture. I want to share my experience and help some of you who might be feeling sad during this time of the year.
Mental health is a subject that gets discussed a lot lately, and with the risk of sounding like a cliché, the pandemic changed our lives and habits, and it made us spend more time with ourselves.
As the holidays are approaching, the “Holiday Spirit” is all around us – you hear “it” through music, you see “it” online and on TV and even when you’re going shopping. All emphasize on the idea of a “perfect” life, a sense of togetherness and overall feelings of joy and happiness.
But for some people, they have quite the opposite effect. They are a trigger for feelings of sadness, anxiety or depression. Lots of people feel pressure during this time, it seems like everyone shares happy moments with family and friends and you can’t help but compare your life to theirs.
If those described above sound familiar, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Are you looking forward for this period of the year to pass?
- Are you feeling tired or pressured only at the thought of buying gifts?
- Are you lacking motivation, appetite, socialization, and you’d like to stay in bed and maybe wake up somewhere in January when “all of this” is gone?
If your answer is “yes” to all or some of these questions, this is your sign to start prioritizing your mental health this season! These feelings are not only in “your head”, nothing is wrong with you and you are definitely not alone!
Here is a short and simple but effective “action plan” that works for me and that it might work for you:
- Acknowledge and identify your feelings. Understand what causes them and start making yourself a priority.
- Breathe. Whenever you feel anxious or unwell with your emotions, try to take deep breaths like this: 5 seconds in, 5 seconds hold, 5 seconds breath out, and repeat this cycle for 3-5 minutes.
- Practice relaxation. Meditate, read, try stretching or simply take few moments to do nothing and focus on your thoughts. These are good ways to calm yourself.
- Journaling. Writing about your feelings makes you see them from a different perspective.
- Eat healthy. I am sure you hear this all the time, but that works. We are what we eat and if we give good nutrition to our body it will reflect in a better mood, more energy and good sleep.
- Practice sport. I take a simple walk every day and it helps me relax and clear my mind. Reconnecting with nature (even in the city) helps us reduce stress and anxiety.
- Make time for yourself and create healthy habits. Discover and work (without pressure) on your passions, play your favorite song and dance in front of the mirror, learn to enjoy spending time with yourself.
- Set boundaries and learn to say no. Accept that you can only control your role in certain situations. Speak out when you don’t want to do something, even if it’s about your family and don’t try to please everyone.
- Find support. Don’t isolate yourself especially when you’re feeling down. This can mean many things, from support groups (online or offline) to talking to your friends or family or reaching out to specialized help.
- Practice gratitude and positive affirmations and you’ll start seeing your life in a different perspective.
Take control of the holidays and don’t let them take a tool on your mental health every year. I’ll leave you 3 recommendations that can represent the start of your mental health journey:
“The Power of Now” – Eckhart Tolle
- Youtube Ted Talk:
My philosophy for a happy life | Sam Berns | TEDxMidAtlantic