Happier Holidays: Tips to De-stress and Enjoy Your Break

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This time of year can be the best: heading back home, family-time, food everywhere, gift-giving!

But the holidays can also be the worst: heading back home, family-time, food everywhere, gift-giving.

The way you view the holiday season can depend on a lot of different factors. Does traveling back to your home town make you excited or anxious? Does your family make you feel comfortable or alienated? For many of us, it’s complicated.

The holidays can be particularly hard for those struggling with mental health. There are a lot of changes in the routine you’ve set up for yourself at school, some of the coping mechanisms or support networks you’ve built may not be available, forced family meals can be triggering and uncomfortable, and financial stress of holiday shopping can compile to make your relaxing break anything but relaxing.

Luckily, we have some tips for you to kick this holiday break’s butt! If you’re feeling down, upset, confused, or in a funk over the next month or so, try some of these tips:

  1. Make some “you” time.

Put on your comfiest clothes, shut your door, load up the Netflix, and do what you want to do. Sometimes stepping away from everyone and everything can really help you relax. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing most, do it as much as you need.

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6 Ways to Practice Self-Care on Valentine’s Day

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Valentines Day_Active MinsdIt’s almost that time of year again, and I’m not talking about tax season. That’s right, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Are you excited? You should be!

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to step away from stress, slow down, and focus on your mental health. This year, celebrate with the following 6 short and sweet ideas for your best (and healthiest) Valentine’s Day yet!

1. Treat Yourself: Plan an activity, take a fun class, pamper yourself, or try something new.

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10 Mental Health Resolutions for 2016

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Everyone has different opinions about the New Year. Some people think it is a fresh start, a new chapter, a time to reflect on life. But others may find the new year hard, like a reminder of past failures or “just another day.” As 2016 starts, it’s no doubt that we will be inundated with people’s new resolutions for what the new year will bring. Too often, these resolutions are focused on things that can be unhelpful- or even harmful- to one’s mental health. So here are 10 resolutions for 2016 that have potential to help your mental health.

1. Make time for real self-care.

NY Resolutions #1 FB

I’m not talking about the frilly self-care that is all over the internet (which is still important- do those things too!) I’m speaking to truly taking care of your whole being: getting enough sleep, fueling your body with food, drinking more water, going outside, taking your medication, whatever entails wellness for you.

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As 2015 Ends, Will You Speak With Us?

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Over the past few weeks, you’ve heard directly from some of our students about their personal struggles with mental illness and stigma. They, like thousands of others across the country, found the support they desperately needed when they discovered Active Minds.

They are the reason Active Minds is so important. And they are the reason your support is so critical.

You make it possible for our students to get the help they need — more than 1/3 of our budget comes from individual contributions.For just $150, you can provide one student with the support, education and resources they need to succeed in college while living with a mental illness.

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Great Last-Minute Gifts for #StigmaFighters

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It’s the holiday season, and that means gift-giving time! Still need to get some last-minute gifts? No problem! We’ve rounded up some awesome presents you can get the #StigmaFighter in your life.

Coloring Books
As I’m sure you’ve heard, adult coloring books are the newest hit. But besides just being a trend, these coloring books are a great way to destress, be mindful, and take a break from the chaos in our lives. There’s many different types of coloring books ranging from super detailed to completely open, so explore your options.

Here are my favorite:
Creative Coloring Inspirations
Good Vibes Coloring Book
Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book
“Today Is Going To Be A Great Day” Inspirational Adult Coloring Book

     

Creative Workbooks
Coloring books aren’t for everyone. Or, sometimes people want something a little more engaging that gets them to be more creative, thoughtful, or goal-reaching. I absolutely love prompted journal activities found in these workbooks.

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10 Holiday Survival Tips from the Active Minds Speakers Bureau

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What is it about the holiday season that stresses us out? The six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can seem like the longest, most angst-filled time of the whole year, even though the days are short!

Even if you don’t ordinarily experience anxiety, depression, mood swings or other mental health issues, itmay not be uncommon for you to feel a little less grounded at the end of the year. And if you are dealing with a disorder, the symptoms may be magnified right about now. If so, read on.

You may already have some coping mechanisms in place for when you feel anxious; however, as a small holiday gift, the Active Minds speakers would like to offer you some of their own tips for surviving the holidays with good mental (and physical) health intact.

Frank Warren: “My one tip for stress reduction is exercise. I feel like I get similar benefits of relaxation and focus from endurance exercise as others might get from meditation or yoga. My favorite workouts are spinning, pool laps and kicking. Don’t forget to hydrate—coconut water, protein drinks and even plain tap water are my go-tos.”

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I Am Not My Mental Illness

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I loved school like most “smart kids” do. Nothing was too difficult until the end of my junior year of high school when I began to gain some weight.

A few of my friends had started using MyFitnessPal so I decided to download it. Though it was just an app, I soon felt like every time I logged a meal, I was disappointing it. I became terrified of messing up and eating more than the voice in my head was telling me to. Soon the app became the least of my worries.

By the time I started college at the University of Georgia in 2014, I was overwhelmed with depression and suicidal thoughts. I remember telling myself that I would rather be sick and thin than happy and fat. My life was out of control. No one was paying attention to how long I was at the gym or how infrequently I ate. I hid my eating disorder because I was ashamed.

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Silence Kills, So We Speak

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Fifteen years ago, my brother Brian died by suicide. After his death, I knew I needed to fight back against the silence that had taken his life. That’s why I started Active Minds.

Today, Active Minds is a network of 400+ chapters comprised of more than 11,000 student leaders in 46 states. The transformational change that Active Minds chapters and the individual leaders in our network have been able to achieve is a remarkable testimonial to the necessity of Active Minds’ work.

Mental illness affects more young people than all other chronic diseases. Last year more than 157,000 youth received medical care for suicide attempts in the U.S alone. This global problem has enormous social and economic implications and is by no means getting enough prevention funding or attention from our government or the private sector. That’s where Active Minds comes in.

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