It’s always fun to celebrate with friends, family, and coworkers during the season of giving. For many people, however, these cheerful feelings are sometimes mixed with a feeling of sadness or maybe you just can’t get “in the Holiday spirit”. You may have heard the phrase “holiday blues.” It is real. This time of year can have a significant impact on your mental health and wellness—especially if you have a preexisting condition, maybe an anxiety disorder or are struggling with depression.
When December arrives, it not unusual to feel overwhelmed with decorating, shopping, cooking, and attending social gatherings. In fact, your schedule may already be packed until January 1st, and you find yourself struggling to keep up with all the exciting plans you’ve made with others. Perhaps you stress about the financial implications of the holidays or the pressure to continue annual traditions with family members. Or maybe you’re traveling this year—a common trigger for stress—and you’re worried about the flight arriving safely, or perhaps this is the first holiday season after the passing of a loved one or close friend.
There are many reasons why you may feel a sense of heightened anxiety during the holidays. But there are also many ways you can avoid common triggers that can lead to depression.
Skip the Alcohol: Though alcohol may calm your nerves, it’s important to limit your intake. When you consume large amounts of alcohol, it acts as a depressant—clouding your judgement and disrupting your ability to think rationally.
Avoid Overcommitting Yourself: Sometimes, it’s hard to say no to loved ones and friends, but overscheduling your days and weekends can lead to emotional and physical burnout. Your body and brain need time to rest, regain energy, and heal.
Be Open to New Traditions: As we get older, we tend to put more pressure on ourselves to recreate beloved family traditions and share it with newer generations. Although this is a thoughtful sentiment, remember to be open to new ideas and ways of celebrating the seasons. Try not to hold onto the past if it’s preventing you from enjoying what’s in front of you.
Give Yourself a Break: Try not to pressure yourself to make everything perfect. Enjoy your time spent with others and don’t be afraid to schedule some alone time to rest and relax.
Stay in Therapy: Although your calendar may be booked for the next few weeks, it’s essential to your mental health that you avoid skipping your scheduled therapy sessions. This time allows you to reflect on your emotional, physical, and social wellbeing. You may find therapy especially helpful during this season, as it will allow you to focus on your anxiety triggers and try different approaches to conquering your fears and worries.
As we approach a new year, it’s important that we take the time to reflect on our mental health needs and how we handle stressful situations. Anxiety and depression are common mental health conditions, and there are professional mental health support services available to help you find balance and live a healthier, happier life.