Putting Your Mental Health First During Busy Season

Putting Your Mental Health First During Busy Season

It is that time again — busy season. It is the time of the year when school is drawing to a close, summer is looming, schedules are quickly filling, parenting pots are overflowing with sports, teacher gifts, party planning, camp scheduling, vacations, etc. While exciting, especially as things begin to feel more normal since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is often the time of the year when many in Virginia and beyond feel overwhelmed and panic at all the things they have to do. Fittingly, May is also Mental Health Awareness Month — a time to focus on self-care and keeping ourselves healthy.

I know what you may be thinking—“I don’t have time to fit in yet another thing.” I get it. But it is important to keep your mental health in check, make it a priority, look at seeing a counselor as a gift to yourself and those around you. How can you do “all the things” without first taking care of you?

Here are some ways to prioritize your mental health during busy season and beyond:

1.) Learn to Say “No.”

It sounds simple but it can be anything but for the chronic “yes” person. You can’t do everything. I know that doesn’t sound very motivating but it’s true— you can try but you will only hurt yourself in the process. Instead, figure out what is most important to you during busy season and focus your energy in those areas, say “no” to the rest. For example instead of going out of your way to purchase the best teacher gift, contribute to a group present. When planning a party, consider ways you can make things easier on yourself—maybe buying a cake instead of making one or having it at a venue that can do most of the work. Plan ahead and take some of the pressure off. Turn down invites to things that don’t bring you joy.

2.) Recognize when you are overwhelmed and take action.

We all know that feeling: our heartbeat quickening, our brain feeling like it is going in a million directions at once. If you are feeling overwhelmed take a breather, correct the problem before it gets out of control—leading to total burnout. Turn off your phone for a night to take a walk with your family, take a day to get a massage or your nails done, seek counseling services, meditate, or go to bed early. 

busy season family walk

3.) Schedule self-care.

Practicing some type of self-care each day can go a long way to filling up your mental health cup. This could be 15 minutes of breathing or meditation, an exercise class, a few minutes with a book, a cup of coffee in the quiet before the family wakes up, a walk with your dog, or a show/movie at night, whatever your heart desires.

4.) Be active.

Movement, increasing your heart rate, helps to relieve stress, and releases feel-good hormones to keep you at your best. And, it helps to keep you physically healthy. It is a bonus if you get your exercise outside. Fresh air and Vitamin D from sunshine are both great mood boosters. 

5.) Budget accordingly.

All those gifts, parties, camps, social activities can add up quickly only leading to increased stress. Before hitting the “send to cart” button you may want to sit down and create a summer budget. Budgeting ahead will allow you and your family to know exactly where you stand financially, be on the same page, and minimize financial stress later.

6.) Don’t forget about the necessities.

What do I mean by necessities? Healthy food, water, sleep. Those are the necessities and when we don’t get them we tend to feel pretty crappy. It might sound like a good idea to stay up late to get things done during busy season, or to go through the drive-through yet again, but both those things could end up hurting you more in the long run. 

busy season sleep

7.) Talk to a Mental Health Professional.

If at any point you are struggling with stress management, anxiety, depression, feelings of overwhelm, insomnia, or just need someone to talk with judgment-free, therapy can be a great resource. Therapists can give you the tools to cope when situations go haywire. They can work with you on solutions that fit your lifestyle. Counselors can teach you how to put yourself first so you can live your best life. 

Ready to begin counseling in Virginia?

Whole Journey works with clients throughout the state of Virginia and North Carolina via our online and telehealth counseling platforms. Our counselors are professionally trained in helping people to live healthier, happier lives. We want to see you thrive. Call our office at 757-296-0800 to schedule an appointment.