The holiday season can be a tough time of the year for many people, specifically people who are dealing with mental health issues. Grief from the loss of a loved one increased stress and financial responsibility, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and more can contribute to low feelings during this time of year. So, if you’re anticipating feeling down around the holiday season or you’re already feeling anxious about the upcoming season, you may be wondering what managing mental health entails. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to manage your mental health during this eventful but overwhelming time of year.
It can be helpful to know that you’re not alone in feeling worse during the holidays. In fact, according to a study published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64% of people diagnosed with a mental health issue claimed that they felt that symptoms got worse during the holidays. So, it’s more common than you might think to feel that your mental health worsens during the winter months.
There are some things that you can do to better manage stress and negative feelings around the holidays including:
One of the best things you can do for yourself during hard times, especially during the holiday season, is to check in with yourself about how you’re feeling. So, if you’re feeling unrelenting grief due to the loss of a loved one, recognize these feelings as valid. And, remind yourself that you will have to deal with changes during the holidays – and that’s okay. This way, you can be more realistic about what to expect for the upcoming holiday season. Furthermore, if you recognize that your feelings are unbearable, remember that you don’t have to celebrate. You don’t have to force yourself to put a smile on for others. Instead, you can let the people around you know what you are feeling and ask for support. This can include support from loved ones, family, and your mental health community.
It can be easy to become overwhelmed during the holidays with all the parties, get-togethers, and family gatherings. Remember to be patient with yourself and others as you navigate your scheduling. Make it a priority to do the things that mean the most to you so that you don’t become burned out on the festivities. And, put yourself first – meaning don’t engage in activities that you think may trigger traumatic memories or do something you don’t want to do. Another tip for managing your schedule is to plan – do your shopping, baking, and gift wrapping ahead of time, before everything gets busy. This way, you don’t become too overworked and overwhelmed as the time approaches to spend time with the ones you love.
Taking care of your needs can help to boost your mental health during the holidays when you’d otherwise be struggling. Some things you can do to take care of yourself include:
When you set yourself up for success, you’ll be better prepared to take on the things that will come your way this holiday season.
If you find yourself needing support during the holiday season, don’t forget that you can always reach out for help. Yellowbrick provides annual support for young adults who are struggling with mental health issues. Find out more about how we can help by visiting our website and checking out our programs and services.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.