For many people, the holiday season is a joy-filled time of year, packed with family and friends and celebrations. For individuals coping with their emotions or past experiences around the holidays, though, the holidays can be very stressful.
Many people even report that the holiday season worsens their symptoms. So, how can we make it through the holidays while maintaining our mental health?
One thing we can do is manage our time and not try to do too much. Overcommitting to the number or length of gatherings can strain your social battery. Try to avoid feeling drained by making a schedule and setting expectations with your loved ones about your time together. If you do need to cancel plans because of your mental health, it is OK. No more than ever we’re feeling squeezed by competing commitments and taking care of ourselves. It’s OK to be honest and say that you need time to yourself or you just need to recharge your batteries.
Keep your daily self-care routine going. Even though the holiday season gets busier, try to keep your daily routine as much as possible. Maintaining your daily self-care practices, and scheduling alone time for yourself can help you prepare for and decompress from the added social activities.
The holiday season also coincides with shifts in weather and daylight. If you have experienced Seasonal Affective Disorder in the past, now is the time to prep your coping mechanisms: more frequent therapy, a sun lamp, setting aside time outside in the sunlight.
Despite your best efforts, you may still feel anxious, sad, depressed, or overwhelmed this holiday season. We don’t want the holidays to be something you dread, but we understand the pressure of the season can be a lot to handle on your own. So, don’t be afraid to seek help when you feel you need it.