Support our Nonprofit Magazine!
Before you start reading... There has never been a time when our community and content was needed more. Unlike other sites, we don't publish sponsored content or share affiliate links. We also don’t run ads on our site and don’t have any paywalls in front of our content–-anyone can access all of it for free.
This means we rely on donations from our community (people like YOU!) to keep our site running. We want to be here to support you all through this pandemic and beyond, which is why we are asking you to consider donating whatever you are able.
A single (or monthly) donation of just $5 will make a HUGE difference and will help keep our nonprofit running so we can continue offering peer support for mental health through our content.
Originally published December 22, 2014. Updated December 1, 2023.
Content Warning: anxiety, relational conflict, the holidays
The holidays are the best times to get together with family and reconnect with friends. However, not every family has a healthy relationship.
Depending on the dynamics, the holidays can be a time when everyone is walking on eggshells. Mental health recovery can also make the holiday time anxiety-ridden.
Triggers seem to be around every corner.
Struggling During the Holidays
Personally, the holidays were never something I was attached to, and being in toxic relationships surrounding the holiday time didn’t help.
A turning point for me was meeting my close friends in college. They are all very festive people — you know the ones. They get Christmas lights two months in advance or go as far as to get a replica of the Peanuts Christmas tree.
Despite how positive my friends are, they have had their own share of struggles. What always stuck out to me was how each of them found a focus to help through the emotional pain and discomfort.
So, here is my suggestion: Let’s create our own positive focus in the form of a mental health box, which I like to call my “Holiday Yay Box!”
How to Make a Mental Health Box
First, find a box.
Whether it is a decorative box or a shoebox doesn’t matter as long as you can put some little things in it.
Once you have the box, the next thing to do is have some fun decorating it.
What I usually do is paste my favourite lyrics on the lid and then add some fun stickers.
Next, let’s fill it up!
The contents of the box are completely up to the individual, but I place some things in it that make me smile, like a photograph of me and my best friend, a photograph of my grandmother, a printout of my favourite poem, an envelope with a letter to myself, a list of movies and songs, nail polish, a drawing pencil, and a candle in my favourite scent.
Remember to keep it handy.
Once I have all of those things, plus what I will randomly add leading up to the holidays, I make sure to keep the box somewhere easy for me to see.
Utilizing Your Holiday Box
When I am feeling stressed or anxious during the holidays, I plan on looking at the letters I wrote myself instead of resorting to unhealthy coping behaviours.
Your holiday box is meant to serve as a reminder of your worth and value, but most of all, how loved you are. Be happy with this gift you created for you!
The box won’t be able to put everything in place, but it acts as a stand-in friend during the holidays if you are not able to get a hold of anyone or don’t have someone to reach out to.
The holidays can be overwhelming and lonely if you don’t have anyone to spend the day with or if you don’t have close relationships with family members.
Something that has always helped me is looking at the pictures of my best friend and me. I look in the “Yay box,” reread my favourite poem or book, and even sing songs to myself.
It gets my head out of any negative thought patterns and transforms my thoughts into gratitude.
Be proud of creating something you put good vibes into. You are meant to be your own best friend and confidant so make a point to celebrate you and your journey.
Kira, recent graduate of Coastal Carolina University (B.A English), is a self-proclaimed bookworm. In 2012 she realized her anxiety was more than a phase and sought out counseling. Through journaling, she learned the value of art as a coping mechanism. Kira continues filling sketchbooks, journals, and bookshelves with inspirations and stories. Rough days come and go but she remains positive and hopes to share this with others who may be struggling to find themselves.
SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in any content on our site, social media, or YouTube channel may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We are not liable for any harm incurred from viewing our content. Always consult a medical professional before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.