The holiday season can be such a joyous time for family and friends to get together, while for others it can be difficult. You may find yourself a bit challenged spending time with old friends and family while trying to maintain healthy habits. Some healthy habits to maintain or include in your lifestyle are breathing techniques, reading, weekly exercise, and staying connected to supporting peers. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse”.

If you are determined to take care of your mental well-being, here are some tips to maintain healthy habits:

Stay Surrounded With Support: Always remember that you don’t have to deal with your challenges alone. Staying in connection with a therapist, peer support, and friends will always help when trying to make tough decisions. Making sure you have someone that is a phone call away is essential for the moments when you feel like giving in. Stay surrounded by or connected to someone who will remind you of your journey so far and encourage you to keep going despite everything else.

Be Realistic About Your Resistance: During this time of year, people indulge in things like alcohol, or other substances that you may find it hard to resist from every day. Be aware of what’s happening around you, don’t allow yourself to be peer pressured into doing anything, and know that it is okay to step away.

Set Boundaries: In larger group settings you may feel your stress levels rise, more anxious, or depressed. Maintaining your mental well-being doesn’t mean you have to stay isolated from everyone. If you’re worried about the pressures that come along with old familiar environments, now is the chance to create your own. Invite others to enjoy one another’s company in a smaller group setting where you can be surrounded by peace and love.

Practice Self-care: It can be physically and emotionally exhausting to interact with people.

Going for a walk, practicing mindfulness breathing techniques, and allowing yourself to get plenty of rest are all equally important around this time of year.

Give yourself permission to put whatever you need in order to protect your peace above all else. If you still find it difficult to maintain practices that promote your health, it’s always good to talk to a professional that can help guide you. Remind yourself daily that you are doing the best with what you have and use every day as an opportunity to grow more and more. Spend this holiday season surrounded by the people you love and most importantly love yourself.

Guest Blogger: Monea Bailey, Public Ally

Monea Bailey is a photographer, graphic designer, and content developer. As a Public Ally, Monea works to help enhance every environment as a capacity builder. Monea hopes to shed light on the importance of Mental health by capturing the moments that give us the most joy.