Winter and the holiday season can bring a lot of joy—but for some, they can also cause feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. Wherever you’re at, these mental health self-care tips from Bethel University’s Counseling Services may be able to help you manage the emotions you encounter in the months ahead.
Reevaluate your routines.
Routines can help give your days a sense of structure and purpose. In addition to the things you need to do for work or for your family, make sure your routine includes things that will help you stay mentally and emotionally strong, like taking a daily walk, spending time in prayer, or having a weekly coffee date with a friend.
Maintain social connections.
While maintaining social connections takes intentionality, it’s important for your overall mental health. Make a list of the people you want to be sure you are connecting with on a regular basis. Open your calendar and start making plans.
Avoid doom scrolling.
Doom scrolling is the tendency to continue scrolling through bad news on your electronic devices, even though it causes you increased levels of anxiety and distress. Instead, be intentional about your time online. Give yourself a time limit to look at news and social media, and stick to it.
Acknowledge painful feelings.
We’ve all experienced feelings of loss, frustration, and anxiety—sometimes the holidays and winter months can cause those feelings to resurface. Give yourself permission to acknowledge what you are feeling. Share your honest feelings with a trusted friend, and acknowledge what you are feeling to God through prayer or journaling.
The ability to see and appreciate what is good, even in the midst of painful, stressful, or challenging situations, helps us maintain emotional resilience. Research shows that developing a gratitude practice can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Ask for help.
We are living in unprecedented and challenging times. Communicate with loved ones, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need some support.
This blog post was created in collaboration with the Director of Bethel University’s Counseling Services Miriam Hill, Ph.D., LMFT and Mental Health Counselor Lisa Wold, M.S., LPCC. Bethel makes counseling services available to all students across the university, free of charge.