During the holidays, its common to experience increased stress or mental health challenges, often from increased financial burden, a packed calendar, traveling, loneliness and more. Here are some tips to help navigate the holidays, brought to you by our friends at the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
Stay in Therapy:
Although the holiday season is overwhelmingly busy, do not cancel your therapy sessions to make time for other activities. The holidays can bring up difficult emotions. If you can, keep your scheduled therapy sessions to ensure you have built-in time to explore anything that comes up.
In addition to professional mental health care, mindfulness can be a valuable mental wellness tool. If you’re new to mindfulness, the online MSW program at the University of Southern California created a Mindfulness Toolkit featuring free mindfulness resources, like guided meditations for beginners.
Don’t Rely on Drugs and Alcohol:
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends avoiding drugs and alcohol for comfort. While the prospect of escape can be appealing, substance use can ultimately worsen your issues. When you feel you need a relaxation aid, you can instead turn to a mindfulness tactic or other healthy coping mechanism.
Soak Up the Sun:
Some struggle with depression during the winter months because of Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern. Exposure to bright lights, including fluorescent lights, can help ease symptoms. Even for those without this form of depression, walking outside in the sun can be an effective centering and calming tool.
Set Realistic Expectations:
Another major source of anxiety, stress and depression around the holidays can be examining accomplishments from the past year. Some may experience negative feelings over not being at a place they feel they “should be” in life. Get yourself out of this space by adjusting expectations and setting realistic goals.
Courtesy of NAMI
In the new year, we also encourage you to access our important suicide and important suicide prevention and mental health resources here. Whether you’re looking for support or are interested in helping friends and neighbors obtain the care they need, our community-wide tools can help point you in the right direction.