Managing Your Mental Health During the Holidays
For some, the holiday season can bring on or worsen stress, anxiety and depression. Many factors can result in an increase of mental health crises during this time. Some people experience increased financial burden due to travel, gift/hosting costs. Others may feel overwhelmed with additional calendar events that can be difficult to balance with everyday responsibilities and self-care.
Loneliness for those who aren’t with loved ones can also be a factor. If you’re experiencing any of these challenges, here are a few coping tips you can encourage yourself or others to use to manage increased levels of anxiety, stress, and sadness.
Stay In Therapy
Although the holiday season is overwhelmingly busy, do not cancel therapy sessions to make time for other activities. Mindfulness In addition to professional mental health care, mindfulness can be a valuable mental wellness tool. Certain practices can be particularly helpful if you are traveling or running on an unusual schedule. The University of Southern California has a FREE MindfulnessToolkit featuring mindfulness resources beginners.
Don’t Rely On Drugs And Alcohol
While the prospect of escape can be appealing, substance use can ultimately worsen mental health symptoms. There is a 20% overlap between people with anxiety/mood disorders and substance use disorders, and substances can exacerbate symptoms. When feeling the need to utilize a relaxation aid, one can instead turn to a mindfulness tactic or other healthy coping mechanism,such as cooking, skiing, or watching movies.
Set Realistic Expectations
Another major source of anxiety, stress and depression around the holidays around goal-setting, which can produce shame or a lot of negative self-talk. Get out of this space by adjusting expectations and setting realistic goals. For example, if trying to establish an exercise routine, try setting a goal of taking a walk three times a week rather than vowing to workout for two hours every day.