Ah, the holidays. It’s supposed to be a relaxing time. Warm cocoa, time off from school or work, and family gatherings… Right? But do you ever think you SHOULD feel like this:

When you actually feel like this instead?

You’re not alone! Mental health and the holidays don’t necessarily mix. In fact, the expectations of the holiday season can create a stressful environment for many people.

Stress bubbles up, being in close proximity with relatives who may not agree with your political views, or those a bit too pushy, grilling you for information about a significant other. It often feels difficult to go through the holiday season unscathed.

Emotional Labor, Mental Health, and The Holidays

This feeling can be referred to as emotional labor, or the mental and emotional work you must present to friends and family around the holidays.

Perhaps your relatives comment on your figure. You may get a present you don’t like, or an uninvited question. Instead of expressing how you truly feel, you feel pressure to respond in a positive way. And that takes energy!

Staying Happy and Calm

There are many different ways to manage this strain on your mental health, and they may differ for each person and situation. One of the first things you can do to prepare yourself this holiday season is recognize your own needs beforehand.

By evaluating what your own goals are this holiday season, you can set up boundaries — what are you comfortable with? What crosses your line? How can you respond while maintaining your principles and mental health?

In setting boundaries, you arm yourself with options and control over the chaos that blankets the holiday season.

And as always, Supportiv is here to talk when the stress overflows. We’re a community filled with peers who are eager to help you survive the holidays, together.