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Mind and Matter

Mental Health Corner

Strategies to sharpen holiday coping skills

The holidays are a time for family gatherings. While this can be a wonderful thing, even the most close-knit families can overdose on togetherness, making it hard for family members to maintain a healthy balance between bonding and alone time. 

For those who don't have these family issues, loneliness can be just as much of a problem. As the world seems to be gathering with family, those who have suffered a loss or are separated from their family can feel deserted and alone. 

Overspending during the holidays on gifts, travel, food, and entertainment can increase stress as you try to make ends meet while ensuring that everyone on your gift list is happy. 

The strain of these challenges can wipe you out and feeling exhausted also increases your stress. High demands, lack of sleep and overindulgence of food and drink can equal holiday illness. 

This holiday season, consider using one, or some, of the following strategies to avoid or minimize the effects of stress. 

Useful Strategies: 

  • Revise Expectations 
  • Limit Expenditure (time, money, energy, etc.) 
  • Set Limits  
  • Put things on hold
  • Say “no” to invitations 
  • Get organized (rank important tasks) 
  • Express Feelings 

Useful Coping Skills: 

  • Make lists and prioritize
  • Adhere to schedules 
  • Plan breaks 
  • Keep regular sleep & exercise schedules 
  • Minimize alcohol and/or tobacco consumption 
  • Limit time spent with annoying people
  • Do something enjoyable every day 
  • Explore new creative ways to connect with others 

The UM Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) supports employees of the University and their dependent family members. Please do not hesitate to reach our offices at 305-284-6604 to arrange a confidential consultation to assess your stress and explore techniques aimed to make this season more enjoyable. 

Click here to read the full Mind and Matter Holiday Edition.