The year is coming to a close and the holiday season is upon us. Some people look forward to spending quality time with family and friends through a handful of social events while others may dread this time of the year. Those feelings could be due to stress, anxiety, depression, or several other factors in their lives. Someone could be stressing over money to make sure their family has something to open up this year. Another person could be stressing out as they try to fit in every single social event they were invited to. Whether someone falls into one of those categories or something completely different, there are several ways to stay on top of your mental health this holiday season.
Danielle Masters, a Licensed Intake Clinician and Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center says mindfulness, boundaries, budgeting, and self-care are good places to start when it comes to your mental health.
“Remember to breathe,” Masters wants to remind everyone as the holidays get closer. She says it is easy to “get lost” around this time of the year. Masters suggests remembering to be present. She says the key is to focus on one thing at a time rather than channeling all of your energy into worrying about upcoming events, future preparations or memories from the past. She recommends trying to enjoy the time you have with your kids, family, friends and the present experience of togetherness.
This time of year can sometimes be associated with a long list of family members to visit, work functions, or events with your friends. Masters says holidays often bring a lot of “obligations” that can add more stress for both the parent and the child. She says this is the time to make that you are not overbooking or overscheduling. Especially during the holidays, Masters wants to assure people that it is okay to say no. She says learning to manage your stress as well as practicing assertive and respectable communication can also influence your kids to learn how to do the same.
With stores constantly announcing various holiday deals the pressure to get everything on a wish-list can be stressful for some. Whether the item you want is on sale or not, Masters says it’s okay not to overspend on gifts. “The holidays are a perfect time to spend quality time with your children and enjoy togetherness,” as she suggests playing games instead, or starting a new holiday tradition. Masters suggests that parents set expectations upfront about gifts or holiday activities depending on the age of their kids. She adds this can be used as a method to explain to them the value of responsible spending as well as showing them that some of the most treasured gifts are those that do not require a lot of money.
Parents and Caregivers may have their own needs and mental health problems they are dealing with or may experience more stress around the holidays. Masters says this can be due to any losses, demands of regular work, kids and home life. According to Masters, parents need to take care of their physical, spiritual and emotional needs as kids are often affected by the well-being of their parents or caregivers.” Remember, it is okay to ask for help.”
Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program
The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships.
One of the several programs, YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.