How to Care For Your Mental Health This Holiday Season

Christmas is right around the corner and this special season brings about a lot of conflicting emotions. At times, it can feel overwhelming for some with all the hustle and bustle surrounding the season– to-do lists, gatherings, traffic, or catching up on end-of-the-year work tasks, to name a few. For some, the season triggers trauma because of unpleasant experiences that happened in the past. Add to this the pressure of the preconceived notions society has taught us about the yuletide season, that it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year and the most joyous one. 

pexels liza summer 6347664

Photo: Pexels

It is during these times that we tend to overlook our own well-being and forget the importance of taking care of ourselves. In more ways than one, there is a symbiotic relationship between our mental health and our overall well-being, so it is only when we nurture these parts of ourselves that we can truly enjoy the holidays at their core. 

While Christmastime means different things to each of us, with all of us having different situations and environments, there is one thing that should unite us– the need to care for our mental health. We sat down with three of our psychologists to ask for their tips on simple ways you can take care of your mental health this Christmas season: 

Rea Celine Villa (Mind You Senior Psychologist)


Rea Celine Villa (Mind You Senior Psychologist) / Photo from Mind You MHS

  • Make a list and check it twice. Create your own Christmas agenda to be able to manage time for your family, your friends, and yourself. Outlining your boundaries and thinking about what will make you happy this Christmas would help your mental health state. Don’t forget to make time to do something you enjoy like watching a film, having coffee with friends, or eating out with family members this Christmas season.” 
  • Create a Christmas playlist. Studies show that music releases the feel-good chemical in our brain, dopamine. Listening to music can reduce tendencies for depression and stress, improve our mood, and help us to sleep better.” 

Ivana Maron (Mind You Psychologist)


Ivana Maron (Mind You Psychologist) / Photo from Mind You MHS

  • Go outdoors more and get enough sunlight. This time of the year, it might be a good time to get some more sleep because of the warm and humid ambiance. Moreover, getting enough sunlight will help lessen depressive symptoms because of the induced serotonin level we can get from the sun. Sitting by a window is also an alternative. Walking and jogging with the family and even your pets are also suitable activities. While you’re at it, how about having a picnic with the family too?” 
  • Create social activities for the indoors and the outdoors. This would be the best time to enjoy the holidays since almost everyone is on holiday, too. Activities such as general cleaning with the family (which can serve as a preparation for New Year, too), having coffee or tea with friends and family members, board games, cooking and baking with the kids, playing with your pets, and simple chit-chatting with the loved ones while watching a movie (this can be virtual too), and so on.” 

Sarah Macaraeg (Mind You Psychologist)


Sarah Macaraeg (Mind You Psychologist) / Photo from Mind You MHS

  • “When things get overwhelming, a person can do self-soothing techniques. Self-soothing is using our senses to help us manage our emotions or feelings. Sounds: Listening to or playing music.

Smell: Light a candle or use your favorite perfume, lotion, or soap. 

Sights: Spending time outdoors, decorating your space. 

Tastes: Eating your favorite food or drinking coffee/ hot chocolate 

Activity: A positive, absorbing activity such as arts and crafts, socializing with friends, or hugging someone or a pet.” 

  • Having realistic expectations is also important. We are still in the pandemic, which means we are still unlikely to spend holidays the way we would pre-pandemic, despite having fewer restrictions. We practice mindfulness by accepting the situation as is, without judgment, and we participate in the experience we are having in the here and now. Practice gratitude in these moments–no thinking of the past or the future.”

Hopefully, these tips become a springboard of ideas that’ll help inspire you to think of new and creative – or old and trusted – ways to take care of yourself this Christmas. Whether you choose to be with family, celebrate alone or shake things up with a different kind of celebration from your past ones, it is vital to pace yourself, learn to pause and enjoy the present, and look after your mental well-being no matter what. 

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If you are an individual based in the Philippines looking for various tips, tools, and resources on how to care for your mind, including availing of talk therapy sessions, download the Mind You app on the App Store and Google Play today.