The holidays can be a time of conflicting emotions and upheaval.
On one hand, we find ourselves celebrating and exchanging gifts with loved ones. On the other, we might be anxious about reuniting with friends or family members after months apart. Alternatively, we may feel pressure to engage in family activities and celebrations despite having unhealthy or conflictual relationships with family members. The holiday season often forces us to face tough conversations that may have been swept under the rug or avoided. We may be eating and sleeping more and exercising less. Routines are disrupted. There are more ‘triggers’ than ever — food, substances and unhealthy relationships and communication dynamics.
It is no surprise that the holiday dichotomy of joy and stress is backed by science. In a 2015 consumer Healthline study, 62% of respondents said they felt that stress was ‘very or somewhat’ elevated over the holidays. For our young adult population facing mental health challenges and other obstacles, we see this first hand. At The Dorm, preparing our young clients to mindfully deal with possible stressors is a key focus as we enter December.
Managing holiday stress with intention
Our first priority is to reinforce the many mindful skills clients develop during their time at The Dorm to help prevent reactive behavior, urges and automatic negative thoughts and feelings. In groups and therapy, we discuss the importance of setting boundaries — knowing when to decline invitations or disengage from toxic relationships and how to maintain healthy routines like sleep, exercise, balanced eating habits, and reliance on community support such as AA and sponsors.
Most of all, we encourage every Dorm client to take advantage of our comprehensive wellness services that give them a well-rounded toolbox for stress management and self-awareness.
The Dorm’s wellness services for managing holiday stress
As with all of our services at The Dorm, we don’t advocate a one-size-fits-all approach to stress management (some clients may need more advanced therapy or medication to manage cortisol levels). We strongly suggest participation in our core wellness and adjunct services.
Do you or a loved one need help with mental health?
The Dorm is here.
- Clinical mindfulness services: Everyone at The Dorm has access to our mindfulness services which includes learning and engaging in the benefits of meditation, yoga, mindfulness practices and outdoor walks.
- Nutrition and fitness: A healthy body feeds a healthy mind and spirit. To help our clients nurture their bodies we offer robust nutritional support groups and fitness services.
- Adjunct services: From private meditation and yoga classes to acupuncture and reiki, we give our clients access to a holistic array of services that can promote healing, improve the mind/body connection and counteract pain and stress.