Home Mental Wellness Manage mental health during the holidays by managing expectations

Manage mental health during the holidays by managing expectations

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For some people, the holidays can be hard for their mental health. And that’s understandable, according to mental wellness coach Archie Messersmith-Bunting.

BOISE, Idaho — The windows are painted and festive lights strung from building to building.

It’s part of the holiday charm that brings downtown Boise to life, but not everyone feels the joy.

“Holidays are like hit or miss for me,” Kenneth Reilly said. “I had a bad alcohol problem I kicked about five years ago. And even working through stuff over the year, holidays can really hit hard.”

Between lost relationships and no centralized area for his family to gather, Reilly’s holidays aren’t perfect.

And that’s understandable, according to mental wellness coach Archie Messersmith-Bunting.

“We have this idea in our head of watching movies about what the holidays are supposed to be like. And when they’re not like that, it can cause some emotions that are not so pleasant,” Messersmith-Bunting said. “We don’t have to be jolly all the time. Just because Santa Claus is that way, doesn’t mean we have to be that way.”

Keeping an eye on sugar and alcohol consumption, limiting time around people – or family – that cause stress, openly sharing feelings, and making an effort to exercise will benefit your mental state, according to Messersmith-Bunting.

“Your brain is a physical part of your body. So physical and mental health are completely intertwined in every way,” Messersmith-Bunting said.

Reilly attributes a lot of his recent success toward a healthy state of mind to these very tips. They’re just a few of the life lessons he’s learned from trial and error.

“I was going through a tough time and started hitting the gym every morning and I did a complete 180,” Reilly said. “The amount of things I have to do to keep my mental health in check is staggering. I consider myself fortunate having had those experiences, cause otherwise, I may not have grown from it.”

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