Depressed or sad woman walking in winter
Published On: November 28, 2018|Categories: Mental Health|

holiday mental health, holiday mental health tips, holiday anxiety and depression, peer support mental health

Struggling with mental health challenges any time of the year can be a challenge, but it can be extra difficult during the holiday season. If you or someone you love is impacted by anxiety, depression, an eating disorder or any mental health condition, here are some holiday mental health tips that can help.

How holidays affect mental health

The upcoming season poses unique opportunities. It’s a chance to gather with family and friends, take a break from a busy work schedule and enjoy new gifts. However, Christmas, New Year’s and other festivities this time of year also bring unique obstacles to mental wellbeing.

Here are a few common ways that holiday anxiety and depression can become worse.

  • Financial stress of purchasing gifts and reciprocating generosity
  • Social anxiety about attending and hosting events
  • Stress at work as deadlines approach and taking time off becomes difficult
  • Cognitive dissonance between the high expectations of a picture-perfect holiday and the stressful reality
  • Difficulty managing a work-life balance
  • Grief while remembering loved ones who are no longer present
  • Marital stress due to financial concerns, family conflicts and so forth
  • Feeling lonely when having few events to attend or others to celebrate with
  • Insecurity when comparing your holiday to others on social media

The holidays can be fraught with triggers for mental health distress. If you or a loved one in your life experiences increased anxiety, depression or stress this time of year, there are some practical ways to ease the mental tension. You deserve to embrace the holidays and enjoy yourself this season.

Mental health tips for the holidays

Read on for concrete holiday mental health tips so you can relax and celebrate without mental health issues interfering.

Reach out to loved ones

If you are facing a mental health condition, you shouldn’t have to struggle alone. Share your experiences with a close relative or friend and express ways you’d benefit from support. Your loved one will be happy to show that he or she cares.

If you know someone who is facing mental illness, extend an offering of assistance, whether it’s helping to wrap gifts for someone who is overwhelmed at work or attending a party with a friend who has social anxiety. Moreover, share that you are available to talk and listen to your loved one’s struggles.

Holiday mental health can be a big concern for those who feel isolated. Creating a strong relationship and community around someone who faces mental illness is essential to healing.

Make accommodations

Setting reasonable expectations for yourself or a family member is important for making it through the holidays smoothly. If you have high standards for purchasing presents that are out of your price range and likely to cause stress down the line, it’s unhelpful to your mental well-being to expect too much of yourself.

The same goes for your loved one with mental illness. It’s important to make necessary accommodations for potential manifestations of anxiety and depression symptoms. For example, your friend may need to leave a party early so as not to get overstimulated. Try to plan ahead so your loved one isn’t triggered by feeling uncomfortable, overwhelmed or exhausted.

Plan accordingly

Thinking ahead can save you from impending stress. Consider which events will invite triggering experiences, such as the presence of alcohol and the pressure to drink, the likelihood of family conflict or the temptation to partake in irresponsible behaviors. While it may seem enticing for you to have a full schedule around the holidays, some events are better to skip for the sake of your mental wellness.

Send invites with discernment

If you are hosting or attending events, it’s important to consider whether specific people will be triggering. Families and friend groups may have dynamics that will change the experience of an event. Consider hosting two smaller family get-togethers instead of one large one, or meet up with friends one-on-one instead of planning to spend time together at a big gathering.

If you are hosting, consider who your loved one with mental illness will be comfortable around. You may want to inform your friend with mental illness of the invite list in case he will only want to stop by for a few minutes, too. Not feeling constrained, trapped, or obligated when it comes to social events can help those with mental illness breathe easier both physically and mentally.

Support seeking professional treatment

Another holiday mental health tip is to seek mental health treatment for yourself or support your friend in the endeavor. Find local resources and treatment centers that offer accredited and individualized care. Proper treatment is key to overcoming holiday anxiety and depression, managing symptoms and obtaining long-term mental well-being.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a psychological condition this holiday season, High Focus Centers is here to help. We offer numerous treatment programs designed to help your loved one overcome their condition and guide them down the path of long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more.

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