The holiday season is a time of great joy, but that doesn’t always mean laughter and joy. Some of us feel the pressure that can accompany this time of year, and it can lead to anxiety and mental health issues.

However, this should not be the case. There are plenty of practical things you can do to enable you to survive and even thrive this holiday season. Follow these tips and be kind to yourself so you can relax and enjoy your vacation.

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

During the holiday season, it’s easy to think that you should feel joyous and bright because everyone else is having a great time. Meanwhile, you may not feel positive at all. And that’s fine. Your feelings about the season are just as valid as anyone else’s. What is harmful is letting those negative thoughts spiral and consume your mind.

One way to prevent this from happening is to keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down something you are grateful for. You don’t need to share it with anyone; This is just for you. Then start each day by reading your thoughts to remind yourself of the positivity in your life. Very quickly, you will notice a change in your thought patterns.

There are tons of excellent gratitude journaling apps out there to help you with the process. Some, like the Daylio app, even allow you to check in and record your thoughts with just emoji and images.

2. Relax through meditation and breathing exercises

Mindfulness is a powerful way to relieve stress and anxiety. When you are fully present in each moment, you can relax and calm your anxious mind. One way to do this is to practice guided meditations using YouTube channels.

You can do it anywhere, and it doesn’t even take much time. You can even check in for a mindful moment on the go with the mobile app. Even a few seconds of meditation can be perfect to help you deal with situations that can be overwhelming, such as a visit to family or a work party.

Another great way to reduce your anxiety is to use apps to learn breathing techniques. Deep breathing exercises are great for grounding yourself and reducing your stress levels.

3. Get moving with a fun workout

Eating junk food and becoming a couch potato will only make you feel worse about yourself. Instead, try getting up and going outside for a walk to help clear your head and distract yourself from worries. You can also practice walking meditation with motivational apps.

If you can’t go out, why not have some fun with dance workout videos at home? Cardio exercise is fantastic for both body and mind, and once the blood gets pumping, it’s easy to leave your worries behind for a while.

4. Use Affirmations to Reinforce Positive Messages and Thoughts

Your inner voice can be both friend and foe. So be kind and gentle to yourself this holiday season, and don’t let negative thoughts get to you. You can take control of your internal dialogue by using self-affirmation tools.

Self-affirmations are short statements and phrases that you can repeat to yourself to reinforce positive feelings and increase your inner self-worth. Use these regularly to boost your mental health during the festive season.

5. Reach out to others

If you feel isolated this Christmas, it can help if you reach out to others so you know you are not alone. Social media can act as a powerful tool for connecting people. It has been used in several initiatives to bring people together during the festive season so that no one feels left out.

UK comedian Sarah Millikan started the Twitter #joinin movement for anyone feeling lonely at Christmas, and it has become an established part of the holiday for Twitter communities around the world.

6. Use a Light Therapy Lamp

If you live in an area where Christmas occurs during the winter months, your feelings of depression may be triggered or made more severe by the weather and lack of natural light at this time of year. These and other factors may contribute to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or seasonal depression.

To find relief from these feelings, consider using a light therapy lamp that produces natural light within your home every day. These incense lamps can help you deal with seasonal affective disorder by restoring your serotonin levels and have a powerful effect on your state of mind. However, it is important to emphasize that you should consult a medical professional if you are experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety for more than a few days.

7. Relax and take time for yourself

However you choose to spend your vacation, if you’re lucky enough to have some time off, use it to relax and make the most of the opportunity to step back from your daily routine.

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