Let’s be honest, holidays can be a serious magnifier.
If we get really honest, sometimes instead of the merry-and-brightness-joy-to-the-world warm fuzzies, we often find ourselves fighting unwanted feelings like loneliness or overwhelm around this time of year.
Personally, this Thanksgiving was unlike anything I planned. Our Thanksgiving plans were turned upside down and if I’m being completely honest, nothing about last week went according to plan.
No big family get togethers. No smiling faces packed around the table. Not even my own little family under one roof.
Some of my own triggers were sparked last week, so if your holidays are feeling less than ideal, I’m right there with you.
The ironic part is that I was able to recall all I’ve been sharing with you in last week’s episode. And I reminded myself of it over and over and over. Because these things work, and you can always, ALWAYS choose truth, friend.
Even when you can’t see it. Even when you don’t feel it.
For those of us already feeling like we’re in over our heads (as the holidays are really just starting), I have four things I want to share to help you protect your mental health. Again, I’m sharing them because they work.
Create Time and Space for Yourself
If you need help doing this, you can listen to episode 22 of the podcast, “How to Structure Your Schedule as a Busy Mom – Time Management Tips for Your Week,” where I talk more about structuring your time to better serve you and your needs.
You may need extra quiet time. You may have to get creative to get this extra time.
This may look like waking up a little bit earlier than your kids, or sneaking away to the bathroom if possible.
And then whenever it is quiet, (maybe the baby is napping or you find yourself with some free time) don’t be quick to fill that time with tv, socials, or even podcasts. Sometimes even really good things aren’t what would best serve you in the moment.
Let yourself sit and take in the stillness. Even if it feels a little uncomfortable or strange. Take some deep breaths, relax, and enjoy as much time and space as you can over the holidays.
2. Say “No” When You Need to Say “No”
I keep seeing this phrase everywhere: “No is a complete sentence”.
I’ll be honest… I’ve never really struggled with this. I’m not a people pleaser. I’m more on the complete opposite spectrum and haven’t always cared what people think, which isn’t a good thing, but it has come in handy with just saying “no,” or avoiding what I don’t want to do. (Avoidance isn’t the best strategy, but you get what I mean.)
Personal boundaries and saying “no” is something you are going to have to do if you want to protect your mental health. If the other person doesn’t understand, that says more about them than it says about you.
Practice saying “no.” Get used to saying “no.” And say “no” as often as you need to.
It’s okay to say “no.” There is your permission slip!
3. Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
This one is super important. We cannot continue waiting until we’re past the breaking point and about to explode, or having an emotional breakdown.
Being proactive about what our minds are focused on instead of living in a reactive state will eliminate a lot of emotional stress.
Don’t allow your mind to think on the negative all day long. Don’t go into a situation focused on how bad it’s going to suck, because you can’t stand this family member or you don’t care for your mother-in-law.
If you expect the worst, you’re going to experience the worst.
You find evidence for what you’re looking for. So if you believe it’s going to be terrible, the entire time your brain will be looking for evidence to prove you are right and why it is terrible just like you thought it would be.
(And I’m not talking about toxic positivity here.) But instead, let’s be proactive instead of reactive and reframe the situation with a more positive spin.
4. Spend Time Reading Your Bible
Last, but certainly not least… Honestly, this should just be a given, but I know as busy mamas it’s not always a priority. Make sure you are getting into the Word and reading your bible.
Even if it’s super quick on the bible app, or you have it read to you through headphones. Don’t underestimate the power in that small amount of time.
The enemy doesn’t want you to see the power of opening the app and reading a few verses.
He wants to convince you it has to look a certain way, or be a certain way, or feel a certain way for it to count. And that’s just not true.
Some mornings I have the bible app read to me on speaker phone as I’m getting ready or through headphones, or as I drive.
It does matter. It is so important and it counts.
Your Mental Health Matters, Mama
Your mental health really does matter. Yes, even at Christmas! So take some time this holiday season to be intentional about how you are taking care of your mental health.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and needing some more encouragement on how to proactively take care of yourself, make sure to check out more episodes of the Her Pursuit podcast!
My passion is to help moms ditch overwhelm and trade in “survival mode” for a more intentional life and motherhood.
I believe in you, friend. You are worth taking care of!