How to keep your mental health in check this holiday season

The holidays can be jolly or full of the blues for some people, but there are ways to cope.

How to keep your mental health in check this holiday season

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - There’s something about the holidays that brightens most people’s mood, but being jolly during the holidays isn’t the case for everyone, according to a professional counselor.

“You would think there’s so many lights, there’s so many families, but for a lot of people that’s a reminder for the things that they don’t have,” said Este-McDonald, a licensed counselor based in Lake Charles.

For others, the holidays come with unreasonable expectations.

“We have high expectations of our holidays, and during that season we want everything to look like a Pinterest board," said Este-McDonald. "We want the family to all be happy, and we want to be surrounded with love, and joy, and peace. Those things take a lot of work. It can cause people to have symptoms of being overwhelmed, sad, anxious, restless, lack of sleep, so those things kind of lend to depressive symptoms.”

Another way that people deal with the holiday blues is through isolation.

“Well, sometimes when we’re having mental health issues or we’re struggling, we have a tendency to isolate ourselves," Este-McDonald said. "When we’re isolating ourselves, we might not be enjoying all of those things, the sights or the smells and the baked goods and the family, but we’re isolating ourselves because we don’t feel that one hundred percent.”

There are however strategies Este-McDonald provided to cope:

Create a network of people

Make healthy choices when it comes to eating and sleeping

Don’t overwhelm yourself this holiday season. Pace yourself.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations.

Budget properly to not get overwhelmed financially.

Volunteer because it’s thinking about people outside yourself.

Don’t be afraid to seek out professional help if you need it.

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