Talking mental health over the holidays with U of M – Detroit Lakes Tribune
While the holiday season is a joyous time for many, as many as 88% of Americans
during this time of year.
Mariann Johnson, Mindfulness and Wellness Instructor at the Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing, shares her tips for prioritizing mental health and stress management this holiday season.
How can people prioritize their mental health during the holiday season?
Johnson: It’s the little things that can matter the most. Regularly taking two to three minutes throughout the day to take a mindful break can make a real difference. Take a deep healing breath, stretch your body, feel your feet on the ground, and remember to offer yourself the same kindness and care that you so freely offer others.
These mindful pauses can also take the form of sipping a hot cup of tea on a cold winter’s day, taking time to pet your dog or cat, or simply sitting quietly to reflect on the mundane, everyday things you might be worth. be grateful: things you would otherwise take for granted.
Taking short breaks like this in the middle of a busy day can allow you to experience the present moment more fully, rejuvenate a bit, and remember that life doesn’t have to be a relay race.
Can you share some tips to maximize the joyful moments during the holidays?
Johnson: Let go of the tendency to overbook or rush from one thing to the next and see how that can affect your sense of well-being. Consider a mindful review of your daily schedule, and whenever you can, rearrange your day to invite more calm. Be careful not to judge yourself when you’re in a hurry, instead give yourself a little grace and remember that water takes the same amount of time to boil regardless of your mood.
Be aware of what brings you joy, contentment, and happiness. When you experience these emotions, acknowledge them, greet them, and offer them a seat to rest. See how you experience these positive emotions in your body, heart and mind. No matter what the experience, be it being in the company of loved ones, experiencing the beauty of freshly fallen snow, or successfully completing a project.
What matters is that you notice and savor these moments. It’s easy for us to acknowledge mistakes, things that go wrong, and not even acknowledge what brings us joy or feelings of fulfillment. This time of year, remember to keep an eye out for the good in your life. Enjoy your very good company.
The holidays can be a stressful time for many. Do you have any tips to combat stress in the coming weeks?
Johnson: Remember the daily basics: good sleep, some exercise, and healthy eating. We may not hit these three notes perfectly every day, but doing all we can to support these basics can have a huge effect on our ability to mitigate the impact of stress on our physical and mental well-being.
When you feel down, reach out to others. When you notice others are down or depressed, reach out to them. We are social-relational beings; we need each other to support and maintain our emotional resilience and well-being.
For many, the holidays can be an especially lonely and challenging time. This holiday season, don’t be afraid to offer and receive the gift of human kindness and caring.
During this time of increased commercialism and over-the-top gift-giving, we can forget what really matters most. Take some time to list what is most important to you: the relationships in your life, the principles you aspire to live by, or the values you stand by during difficult times. Reflect on the many ways these values, people, and/or principles have supported or encouraged you throughout your life.
is a mindfulness and wellness instructor at the University of Minnesota
Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing