The holiday season brings many Americans joy, but it can also bring them an extra dose of stress.
Many Americans for whom the holidays are not always happy and blissful can become anxious or depressed during this season. For those who are already affected by a mental health condition, the added stress, weight of certain expectations, and less-than-happy memories as well as less sunlight and more work stress for those in certain careers, such as retail, can put some “at risk for feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension, and a sense of loss.”1 These factors can all greatly affect your mood. Indeed, old patterns of behavior can emerge, our stress levels can rise, and our ability to cope can “fly out the window.”2
However, there are ways to cope with the stress that can arise during the holiday season, both for those with and without existing mental health conditions.
This PsychCentral blog provides nine tips that might help those with existing mental health issues better manage stress and possibly avoid the holiday blues. They include making yourself a priority, avoiding feelings of guilt, staying connected with others, tuning in to your feelings, leaving stressful situations, and laughing.
Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic lists 10 tips that can minimize stress and can help everyone cope with the holiday blues. They include acknowledging feelings, volunteering in the community, setting aside differences with family members and friends, sticking to a budget for gifts or food shopping, saying no in certain situations, and maintaining healthy habits.
This holiday season, take care of yourself, especially if you have a mental illness. The holidays can be tough for some folks, especially those whose illness can be brought on by certain holiday “triggers.”3 However, know that resources, such those noted in this blog and many others, are available to help you.
1 National Alliance on Mental Illness Web site. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2015/Tips-for-Managing-the-Holiday-Blues#.
2 PsychCentral Web site. http://psychcentral.com/holidays/.
3 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Web site. http://www.samhsa.gov/homelessness-programs-resources/hpr-resources/recognizing-holiday-triggers.