Experts provide mental health tips as holiday stress begins to peak for many

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 8:33 PM CST
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The holidays can be a festive and wonderful time for many, but for some people, they are quite the opposite.

“There are a lot of unmet expectations compared to what society says to us. What those pressures are about, how we should be spending the holidays,” said Mindy Kimmel, a marriage and family therapist and counselor at Five Rivers Mental Health Clinic, LLC.

There are people who struggle with mental health every day, and the holidays just add to it.

The feeling of trying to recreate perfection for loved ones, being away from family during this joyous time and dealing with holiday stress.

“I have definitely heard more patients and people talk about just doing less. It is about the time that we have together, the memories that we are creating,” stated Dr. Lisa Hardesty, Ph.D., L.P., a behavioral health, psychiatry and psychology physician at the Mayo Clinic Health System’s North Mankato campus.

That’s why Mayo Clinic Health System and Five Rivers Mental Health Clinic have some helpful ideas for maintaining balance.

“Having what we call post-event downtime. When I am done with this event, I know I am going to have some self-care that I am going to engage in. I think it is okay to let your family, friends know that I am going to take some quiet time,” Hardesty explained.

“Paying attention to what you are eating, what you are filling your body with, both dietary-wise, but also the thoughts that we have about ourselves. Things like that that can have a pretty dramatic impact on how we feel throughout the day,” Kimmel added.

A factor that also could be helpful for dealing with mental health over the next couple of weeks is to try and not think about yourself and get into the giving spirit and think of someone else.

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