Set an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ to Balance Mental Health this Holiday Season
Entering the second holiday season with Covid brings a new set of challenges for how we balance our mental and emotional health, considering yet another adjustment to our changing public health landscape. This year feels more purposeful in our month of giving as we enter the Thanksgiving season with the aim of healing and regaining some ground under our feet.
The fact that there are two lived realities to contend with complicates matters. Individuals who are vaccinated and are planning gatherings with friends and family are in a different position to navigate the holidays than individuals who have chosen, for their personal reasons, to remain unvaccinated. This aspect of the endemic phase of Covid-19 is something we will continue to grapple with as we celebrate and move into the new year. While the lived realities of how we go about our daily lives may differ depending on our physical safety measures, there are mental health and emotional steps that we can all practice. By focusing on several modes of love-in-action this season we can also increase our resilience amidst stress and tragedy, while building community ties that are essential for our personal and social welfare.
Creating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ as a guiding principle is a powerful tool to bolster our mental, emotional and spiritual health, which feeds back into the community building aspect of our personal growth – fostering meaning, happiness and enriching relationships.
Acts of kindness build a community web of support and help raise our happiness meter.
This month of giving begins with Veterans day, an important day to give thanks for the enormous sacrifices that military families carry for us. As well as Giving Tuesday campaigns for raising awareness and financial support for the multitude of programs that aim to help those in need. A focus on gratitude this month shines bright within us as we strengthen our community through loving actions, big and small, that also increase our own sense of well-being through happiness and connection that comes from spreading kindness. We have seen people step-up in creative ways to support each other in times of crisis. The pandemic has brought out our better angels in many corners of the world. An article in Frontiers in Psychology points to several “silver linings [which] revealed sources of strength that included finding a sense of community, closeness, gratitude, and a belief that the pandemic may spur positive social change.” Acts of kindness generate the greatest amount of emotional healing and community connection.
Love and gratitude towards acquaintances, neighbors and passersby in our life, can also come through simple acts, such as smiling at everyone you pass by throughout your busy day. Thanksgiving week is not simply time to be with family. Especially for those who are not traveling this year but want to have a fellowship gathering for the holiday, consider a small Friendsgiving feast. It would be healing to spend the holidays amongst whatever sense of community is available to you within the safety measures that you are comfortable with. Perhaps setting up an outdoor neighborhood potluck to connect individuals who would otherwise celebrate alone. Or consider supporting the most vulnerable in your area through sharing your talents or simply your time and presence, if you are able to safely. Through these actions that help us build our support systems beyond that of friends and family units, we begin to see the role of community in a new light. Now these terms, love and gratitude, are so broad they have room for myriad forms of relationships that enhance our well-being, especially when we extend that love to ourselves. Self-love is an important aspect of being able to give love to others in a healthy manner. And for individuals who are struggling with depression, the connection with self-love is often lacking. This study views gratitude and well-being in a psychotherapeutic setting. But self-love encompasses a broader concept, as well, as we look at wellness from the perspective of self-care.
Self-care in the context of balancing our mental health during the holidays means giving ourselves the time we need to relax, recharge to manage the hectic schedule of work demands, family life and holiday preparations. Fitting in moderate exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting proper sleep and carving out time for leisure activities such as reading, sitting by the fire, giving long hugs, taking long walks, reflecting during quiet moments or filling up on music and dancing whenever possible, are all important aspects of self-care. There are countless outlets that can provide you a recharge. Laughter is a wonderful remedy, of course, but not everyone is in a festive mood. It’s OK that you do not feel OK. You are not alone. Too many of us are experiencing grief.
Seek professional help if you need support to manage grief at this time. Contact
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-279-8255 if you need immediate assistance.
For a free consultation to learn about various cutting edge mental health treatments for depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and other mental health challenges contact one of our professional staff at 1-833-542-3030 or https://ketaminehealthcenters.com.
Mending hearts and managing grief when faced with an empty seat at the table makes the holidays especially difficult. If you are not experiencing loss, help those around you with your presence, simply offering silent support is what is most needed. You can help someone find solace by finding a unique way of remembrance this holiday season. Below are a few examples of how to pay tribute to a loved one that encourages a personal touch.
- Build a Centerpiece.
- Set a Place at the Table for Them.
- Attend a Service of Remembrance.
- Create a Memory Table.
- Share the Memories You’re Thankful For.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly as we enter a season of reverence, is remembering our spiritual connection to traditions and ancestors. The essence of traditions in our social makeup is the source of universal love and our larger communal web of humanity, experienced uniquely and intimately with our families. Our personal experience of these traditions gives us a direct connection to our ancestors, our motherland, and oftentimes elucidates our place in nature. Create those nature-focused moments in our downtime, or an electronic-free day to create quiet space that helps us balance holiday demands with deeper meaning-making experiences. This is a perfect year to begin new traditions that harness energy stemming from new perspectives taking shape during the pandemic. Holidays always represent a mix of memory-making and energy-draining scenarios. It is important to read our emotions and give ourselves the permission to escape it all with our quiet moments of stillness that rejuvenate and reconnect us with a deeper sense of self. That quiet moment in front of a fire, or at dusk immersed in the beauty of a sunset, can provide the energetic refueling necessary to come back to your surroundings with grounded focus and openness. A spiritual connection to traditions or sacred space can provide a similar energetic recharge when we immerse all our senses and let the joy of the season fill our spirit. Peaceful holidays from Ketamine Health Centers!