Thanksgiving will be here soon, and for many people, that means getting together with extended family.
While large family get-togethers can be fun and exciting, they aren’t always easy. That’s especially true if you have conflict within your family, or if certain members tend to trigger mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
If you’ve been working on your mental well-being, it’s possible that family Thanksgiving gatherings can cause a regression.
Let’s talk more about why that’s a possibility, and what you can do to stay on the right track with your mental health.
Your Boundaries Will Be Tested
Having boundaries for yourself as you go to family gatherings is important. You’re in charge of your own life, and while there are some things you can’t control, you control which conversations to have and how to spend your time.
But, even if you express those boundaries ahead of time, not everyone will always respect them.
Know that your boundaries will be tested at family gatherings, and plan ahead for that. Chances are, you already have a good idea of who might push those buttons and be inconsiderate of your needs. So, try to avoid those individuals or make your boundaries clear to them again.
Expect the Unexpected
When you have a plan in place before you go to a Thanksgiving gathering, it can ease your anxiety. But, it’s important to expect the unexpected. Even the best-laid plans don’t always work the way we want them to.
So, while having a plan can make you more comfortable, it’s also important to be flexible during your gatherings. Give yourself an “escape” if possible, and if your plan is going too far off the mark, make sure to give yourself time and space to practice mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing to calm down.
Your Routine Might Be Disrupted
One of the most important aspects of mental wellness is maintaining a healthy routine. When you’re struggling, a routine can give you a sense of security and calm.
Unfortunately, the holidays can be sporadic, and things can “pop up” at any given time. You might not get the sleep you need, and your schedule might be completely different from what you’re used to.
That can cause you to feel uneasy, anxious, and/or depressed.
Make it a point to keep your routine as steady as possible—not just over Thanksgiving, but through the entire holiday season. You might have to make adjustments but having that familiarity is important. That might mean talking to your family members if you’re staying with them, or not saying “yes” to every event and get-together.
Most importantly, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. While every aspect of your routine is beneficial, sleep is the key to helping you function healthily every day. It will allow you to keep a clear head, reduce stress, and solve problems easier without feeling so overwhelmed.
How to Maintain Your Mental Wellness This Thanksgiving
Recognizing that Thanksgiving gatherings can cause regression in your mental health is the first step to fighting back against it. Acknowledge that things might be difficult, and you’ll be better prepared to handle them.
If you’re still concerned about your mental well-being, be proactive about it now. Feel free to contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group to set up an appointment before the holiday season.
Together, we’ll work on more skills you can use to maintain your mental health through Thanksgiving and beyond. We’ll dive deeper into why your family gatherings might cause a regression, and what you can do to stay on the right track. The holidays should be a time of celebration, relaxation, and comfort. They can be for you, too, with the right support.