For many, the holidays aren’t always the most wonderful time of the year. A study by the National Alliance of Mental Illness found that 64% of people with mental illness reported that holidays worsen their conditions.
In another survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 38% of participants said their stress increased during the holiday season which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse.
Oftentimes, we tie significant memories to the holiday season. For some, recalling and reliving painful or negative memories may trigger a trauma response, causing additional stress, anxiety, or depression. If you or a loved one anticipate experiencing a challenging holiday season with your mental health, we offer these tips to help you navigate the difficult season.
- Understand the trauma or stress triggers that will cause your condition to worsen. Some triggers happen unexpectedly, but the situations you can anticipate in advance will allow for more peace of mind when the time comes. Activities such as holiday shopping, preparing meals, and spending increased amounts of time around people can all contribute to stress and overwhelm. Even small triggers such as specific music, movies, and smells may cause painful memories to resurface adding to stress or grief.
- Set expectations and boundaries. Setting expectations with your friends, family, coworkers, etc. will prepare and allow them to respect your boundaries when you find yourself needing space or not attending social functions. When the time comes for parties, gatherings, and social expectations, don’t forget that “No” is a complete sentence.
- Set aside intentional time for yourself. Pinpoint what will help clear your head, re-energize your body, and balance your emotions. Meditation, exercise, well-balanced meals, and adequate sleep all play a major role in stabilizing your mood. It’s okay to prioritize your self-care and alone time to recharge.
- Reach out if you need help. Aside from your community of friends or family, our licensed mental health professionals are here for you when you need someone to talk to. You don’t have to experience this season of holiday stress and depression alone. We treat children, teens, young adults, and families for varying issues.
In addition, there are many resources to support your mental and emotional well-being year-round:
- 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988 just as you would 911. This lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis.
- Crisis Text Line: text ‘HELLO’ to 741741. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the U.S., the crisis text line serves anyone in any type of crisis and connects them with a counselor who can provide support and information.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: Dial 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for 24-hour, confidential help for individuals and family members experiencing substance use disorders.
If you find yourself feeling anxious during the holiday season, you are certainly not alone. However, we hope you don’t struggle alone. Contact us today to Get Started.