Mental wellness tips for your family health this holiday

The holidays can take their toll on family health. Because it is a trying time for children who are currently, or have previously, struggled with behavioural or mental health issues. In addition, this season can drum up unwanted feelings for children who have endured a traumatic event. It can also renew a sense of grief for families who have lost loved ones.  

All these factors are stressful enough, without the counted expectation that the holidays should be “the happiest time of the year.” This is why the following tips will help everyone enjoy their holidays just a little bit more.

Mental wellness tips for your family this holiday:

1. Have sensible expectations:

Things don’t have to be perfect; make adjustments as needed. For example, if spending five hours at a party rather than one does not make much sense for your family’s health, there’s no point in going.

2. Make sure everyone is eating and sleeping:

Try not to vary too widely from meal times and sleeping routines. This may not be possible all the time. But do your best. For teenagers, try to ensure they go to sleep and wake up at reasonable hours.

3. Plan your schedule:

Allow your child the prep time to prepare for what will happen before an event, party, or outing. Share with them who will be at each event, and where you are going, and try to answer all their questions. Discuss what situations may arise and come up with a plan that will work for all of you. If your child is a teenager, you can discuss and negotiate what the plan will be.

4. Communicate openly about feelings with your child:

Discuss with them how they are feeling, or what’s making them anxious. Be available throughout any outings or parties so they know they can come to you for support if they need it. A little one-on-one time throughout the holidays will help you get a better sense of how your child is feeling.

5. Don’t worry about other people’s judgments:

People may ask unsympathetic questions or make comments about your child’s behavior. Sometimes they are trying to be rude, other times, they’re just trying to understand. Have quick answers ready that explain your child’s issues. This will help you stay calm and to keep from overreacting.

6. Take care of yourself: The holidays can be a stressful and anxious time for parents too. Eat, sleep and enjoy the holidays as well. Maintain healthy boundaries. Take time when you need it, and don’t feel guilty saying no when you need to. Do what is best for you and your family.

For more advice from health providers on keeping mentally well through the holidays, please visit DiagnoStar to speak with a consultant.

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