• Ashton Rose

How Holiday Decorating Can Help Your Mental Health



It’s my favorite time of year! The time of chilly air, fresh cookies, Christmas songs, hot cocoa, and lots of holidays. And, of course, beautiful decorations.


If you’re anything like me, you absolutely love decorating for the holidays. The act of transforming a space and adding your own spirit to it can be fun and therapeutic. But did you know that decorating can actually have many different benefits to your mental health?


Today, let’s look at all the ways decorating for the holidays can help your mental health, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, or anything else. If you’re someone who loves decorating, you can use this knowledge to help you further. And if you don’t like it, maybe you might try it out as a new way to boost your mental health. Let’s take a look!


Memories


One of the largest parts of the holidays for many people is memories. It’s a time when people get nostalgic, when they spend more time with family, and when they enjoy looking back on fond times.


Decorating can help with this. Maybe your family has a tradition of decorating on the same day every year (Black Friday, anyone?), so doing this will help you remember all of those fun times. Or you could have special decorations that mean something important to you, like a customized ornament for your tree.


Of course, some people may have lots of negative memories associated with the holidays. While it isn’t a total fix, decorating can be a way to help deal with that. It gives you an opportunity to create new memories and traditions, which can help you reclaim the joy of the holiday for yourself.


Create-your-own


Building off of the idea of memories, creating your own decorations can be a great way to add to this. My Christmas decorating wouldn’t be complete without some new, handmade ornaments to add to the tree!



Making your own decorations is another way to create new memories. It also allows you to add an incredibly personal touch to your space, which can be nice. And there’s so many options that you can create just about anything you want!


Distractions


I will be the first person to tell you that distractions aren’t always the best way to cope with mental health problems. Ignoring issues for too long can be harmful. However, in small doses, distraction can be very helpful for you.


And decorating for the holidays can be just one of these distractions, and it’s a more fun and healthy distraction than some other options. So if you just need a small distraction for a little while, decorating can be a good option.


Control


Sometimes, you may feel overwhelmed with life, and feel like you have no control over anything. This is especially common for those dealing with anxiety, but can occur for anyone. When you have this issue, finding small ways to take back control can be very helpful.


Since decorating is so personal and open, it’s a great way for you to take back control. It gives you one small facet of life that you can focus on to help ease your mind. It can also act as a sort of stepping stone to help you extend that control to other areas of your life.


Creating a space


Something that I have always been a big believer in for mental health treatment is creating your own space. I deal with anxiety, depression, and trauma-related issues, so sometimes things can get very hard. But having my own space to fall back on, to relax in, can help ease my struggles and give me a safe place to decompress.


With the holidays, there are a lot of great opportunities to change your space and make it more appealing to you. No matter how you choose to decorate, the important thing is that you make it a space you feel comfortable in. And this space can be anywhere, from a single room to your whole house or even your car.


Of course, decorating for the holidays and creating your own space doesn’t just help when you feel bad. The simple act of decorating, and of seeing your decorations around you, can boost feelings of positivity and happiness. It can lighten up a space, and help you feel better all the time.


Holiday scents




While you may not think of it as part of decorating, aromatherapy is a great way to help your mental health during the holidays. And there are plenty of ways you can work it into your decoration. You can arrange candles in a certain way, add them as accent pieces, get a holiday-themed wax burner or diffuser, make scented ornaments, the list goes on and on. So let’s look at some common holiday scents and what they can do for you.

  • Peppermint: this is a holiday staple. I eat peppermint candies, put it in my hot cocoa, and bake peppermint cookies. But I don’t do it just because it’s delicious— it has a lot of mental health benefits as well. It can help ease feelings of anxiety. And, perhaps its most beneficial use, it helps you concentrate and focus much better. On days that I really struggle with focusing, lighting a peppermint candle always helps.

  • Pine: if you get a real Christmas tree, you’re likely used to the scent of pine. But even if you don’t, it’s a good scent to work into your decorating. Pine has been shown to increase feelings of nostalgia and provide an overall boost to mood levels.

  • Cinnamon: another holiday staple. I mean, snickerdoodles! Cinnamon is a very warm scent, and it often invokes feelings of warmth and comfort in people. It can help ease your mind, provide holiday comfort, and even increase feelings of love. Cinnamon-scented pinecones are a great thing to work into your holiday decorating.

  • Ginger: Christmas wouldn’t be the same without gingerbread. Much like pine, ginger can increase feelings of nostalgia and happiness. Not only that, but it’s a great remedy for upset tummies, both as a scent and a food or drink.

  • Citrus: though not a traditional holiday scent, it can be a fun thing to work into your decorating and/or baking. Citrusy scents are often very bright and strong, which contributes to the holiday warmth. And combining orange and cinnamon just cannot go wrong. Citrus scents also help with focus, and can improve overall energy levels and alertness.


However you choose to decorate, hopefully now you know how much it can help you. Decorating for the holidays has a lot of benefits for your mental health. For anyone who struggles with mental health problems or just wants new ways to spread joy and love, holiday decorating is a great option.


What are some of your favorite holiday decorations or scents? How does holiday decorating help you feel better? Let us know by leaving a comment below!


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