The holiday season is here and can be a time filled with joy, laughter, and festive gatherings. But for some, it can also bring a wave of stress and stir up negative emotions.
It’s normal to feel this way, and it’s okay to need a bit of extra care during these times. This article is for anyone who might find the holidays more challenging, especially those managing mental health issues.
Understanding the Holiday Blues
The “Holiday Blues” is a real thing. It’s that feeling of being a little down or overwhelmed during the holidays.
The reasons can vary. Maybe it’s the shorter, colder days. Or it could be the pressure to be happy when you’re not feeling it.
For those with mental health conditions, these feelings can be even stronger. But knowing that this can happen is a good first step. It means you can prepare and take care of yourself.
1. Establish Healthy Boundaries
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set healthy boundaries. That might mean deciding not to attend every event you’re invited to. It’s okay to choose the gatherings that make you feel good and skip the ones that don’t.
Also, remember that “no” is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain yourself. This is about taking care of you.
2. Stay Connected
While it’s good to have boundaries, staying connected with loved ones is also key. You don’t have to be at every party to feel close to people.
A simple phone call, video chat, or even a text can make a big difference. Reach out to friends or family members who make you feel understood.
Just knowing someone is there and cares can lighten the load of the holiday season.
3. Maintain Routines
When the holidays roll around, it’s easy for our usual routines to get tossed aside. But keeping a regular schedule can really help with mental health.
Try to wake up, eat, exercise, and sleep at the same times you usually do. This can give your days structure and make things feel more manageable. Even if your routine has to change a bit, sticking to the basics can be a big help.
4. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Mindfulness is all about living in the moment. It helps you calm your mind and ease stress.
You can practice it in many ways, such as deep breathing, meditating for a few minutes each day, or going for walks.
Also, try to do things that relax you, like reading a book or taking a warm bath. These little breaks can recharge you and make the holiday rush feel less hectic.
5. Seek Professional Support
Sometimes, talking to friends or family isn’t enough, and that’s okay. It’s brave to reach out for extra help.
A counselor or therapist can be a great support during the holidays. They’re there to listen and help you find ways to cope.
And with a variety of options, it’s easier to fit this into your busy days.
Managing Specific Mental Health Challenges
For those dealing with specific issues like depression, anxiety, or trauma, the holidays might feel harder than usual. It’s important to recognize your triggers and have a plan for when they hit.
For instance, if large crowds make you anxious, shopping online might be a better choice.
If you’re dealing with loss, it might help to create a new tradition that honors your loved one.
Whatever your challenge, there are strategies that can ease your stress and help you enjoy the holiday season a bit more. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.
Embrace the Holiday Season with Kindness to Yourself
The holidays can be a mixed bag of joy and challenges, especially when you’re facing mental health issues. By following these strategies, you can navigate this season with more peace.
It’s okay if you’re not feeling festive all the time. Be gentle with yourself, and remember that your well-being is the top priority. Take things one step at a time, and know that it’s completely fine to ask for help.
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one struggling with mental health, the team of professionals at OC Specialty Health & Hospitals can help. Please reach out to Aliso Ridge Behavioral Health or Anaheim Community Hospital today.