The holidays can be a bit of a mixed bag for everyone, because even if you are in the best place, surrounded by your favourite people, it can still be stressful. And the reality is that for most of us, the holidays can bring out a deep sense of loneliness or grief, an unhealthy amount of stress, and a slew of sometimes destructive self-soothing habits. So instead of cozying up to one or six bottles of mulled wine, see if you can soothe in less depression inducing way by building up your mental resilience.
Mental resilience or the ability to “bounce back” after a difficult experience isn’t a special gift you were born with, quite the opposite in fact. It’s a skill that you have to work at and hone to cultivate.
The reality is that we can’t control what happens or the outcome of a certain event, but we can control OUR RESPONSE. True story, your response is pretty much the only thing within your control. That being said, if it feels like it isn’t, like you are spinning out, snapping at people, constantly awash in emotions etc. it might be time to ramp up your mental workout to build up your resilience muscles.
Try to identify things you are grateful for - There is a lot of science around the efficacy of reframing thoughts and cultivating a mindset of gratefulness
Help someone else - Taking yourself out of your daily grind and experiencing life from someone else’s point of view can help you gain perspective, it also helps to reduce loneliness and isolation
Give yourself a break - From people, from cookies, from worrying about how many cookies you’ve eaten, from all of it. Try to take a mental siesta when you start to feel your anxiety, annoyance or anger becoming unmanageable
Practice a bit of mindfulness and deep breathing - Take at least 60 deep belly breaths to fully turn off your sympathetic nervous system.
Fake it ‘til you make it - Not just a clever insta slogan, also a real life activity that can subtly change the the way you see yourself, and how you interact with the people around you. Try faking a smile and see how it immediately lifts your mood
Taking time to learn your habits, and to figure out what soothes you is important. So maybe instead of diving back into the next email or phone call, pause and notice. Notice how you feel, how you are sitting and breathing. Notice the sounds around you and the smells, if you can peep out a window do that for a minute and feel your breath on the inside of your nostrils.
That simple act of noticing is the perfect start to your resilience workout.