Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses, and both can be exacerbated during the holidays. A study by the US National League of Mental Illness found that 64% of mentally ill patients report worsening symptoms during the holidays. Therefore, while some people may feel cheerful and excited, many others may feel lonely and struggling to survive. Considering that holidays should be moments of joy and celebration, this may sound counterintuitive, but mental health at this time of the year is a real challenge that many people struggle with. Coping with mental illness is always difficult, especially during Christmas.
Gifts you haven’t wrapped, Christmas cards to send, decorations, commitments to family and friends … all can cause unwanted stress. Stress has a huge impact on your physical and mental well-being, and holidays can also add financial stress to your list of worries. Finance can be a complex topic at any time of the year, but even more so during the time of the year. We may feel stressed spending a limited budget or trying to find the right gift.
But you can minimise the stress that comes with the period. With a little planning and a little positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the Christmas season. While your holiday plans this year may look different, you can find ways to celebrate, making it special and comfortable by putting your mental health and well-being at the forefront. Remember, this is a season of festive sensations and activities that can be spread out to reduce stress and increase fun.
Guilt, anxiety, stress
You shouldn’t feel guilty about telling people that you can only achieve so much during the holidays. If you’re feeling stressed, it can be helpful to talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. As much as possible, tell your loved ones how they can support you, whether they help you shop or meet on a casual walk.
A very important reminder for everyone is not to be afraid to ask for additional help if you need it. This could be a visit to a therapist or access to resources to help you deal with stress.
Take steps to prevent stress and depression that can occur during this time. Learn to recognise triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can deal with them before they lead to a crisis. Try to prevent stress and depression first and foremost, especially if this period has affected you emotionally in the past.
Finding a volunteer opportunity is a great way to meet new people who also want to do good deeds, and to mingle with people (or animals) in need while on vacation. Look online for people to connect with; searching for events in your area on social media can help you find people who share your interests.
Christmas is a good time to provide support and get support from loved ones. Perhaps the holidays will remind you of friends or family members who are no longer celebrating. Remember that some people spend this season without anyone.
We want to do our best and be close to everyone and have the best parties. We are mired in the desire to do everything, but we can strive to set more realistic expectations for ourselves and others. We may try to avoid putting too much pressure on ourselves to prepare the perfect meal, have the right decorations, or feel compelled to respond to every invitation.
Self-care as a present to yourself
This time of the year in particular we should be paying attention to how we talk to ourselves; talking to ourselves can be an effective tool that can help reduce the high expectations we usually have of ourselves during the holidays.
When it comes to stress, try using self-care products to manage stress, such as exercising. If you are resting alone … enjoy the time alone with yourself, make it extra special. Make sure you are not neglecting yourself in the rush of activities and commitments that usually accompany the holiday season.
Self-care can also help relieve anxiety or stress. It is very important to reduce, eliminate or find creative ways to meet the time, energy, and emotional needs of the season. It can help to work with a therapist or obtain other resources to deal with depression. Proper treatment can protect your mental health during your Christmas and New Year. Treatment, counselling, and prescription drugs can help fight mental illness.
Depression, anxiety and stress all affect our mental health and, if not properly treated, can lead to more serious problems in the future. When people are constantly stressed, their mental and physical health can be affected. Stress can also exacerbate other common holiday traps, such as overeating and eating foods high in fat and sugar. For many people, the stress response is to isolate yourself from others, which can lead to holiday depression.
Others may feel overwhelmed as the season often includes a busy schedule of events, performances, and travel that can be difficult to balance with daily responsibilities and self-care. While the holidays should be a time filled with joy, good humour and upbeat hopes for the new year, many people struggle with high expectations and disrupted daily routines that seem overwhelming.
Learn as much as you can about depression, support groups in your area, and ways to manage your feelings. Whether you are experiencing or know a mental health problem, you can take steps to get ready for the holidays and make your mental health a priority in the coming weeks.