Mental Health and the Holiday Season

The holiday season is supposed to be a time filled with joy, good cheer and well wishes for a new year. However, many people can experience feelings of anxiety and depression during this hectic time of year, when expectations are high and routines can become disrupted and overwhelming. For those who already live with a mental health condition, it’s important to take extra care and tend to their overall health and wellness during the holidays. There’s a lot of seasonal factors that can easily trigger holiday blues, such as: extra stress, less sunlight, changes in your diet, increase in alcohol consumption, inability to be with friends or family or even sentimental memories can be a catalyst and seriously affect your mood.  However, mental preparation and planning ahead of time can help everyone cope with the hectic season and even enjoy the holiday cheer.

  • Self-Care- The holiday season can get busy, but don’t forgot to factor in downtime. Pay special attention to your routine. While it may be ok to skimp on a few hours of sleep before a relaxing weekend, think again if your weekend includes traveling, parties or other activities outside of your normal routine.
  • Holiday Cheer, Not Perfection –It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialization of the season, but resist the urge to make the season perfect for everyone. Enjoy the holiday season for what it is, a time to spread cheer and enjoy the company of others – don’t expect it to be perfect.
  • Accept Change- The holidays are a sentimental season, but it’s important to realize that life brings changes. Leave “yesteryear” in the past and enjoy the present for the special joy it brings. Learn how to appreciate the “good ‘ole days” while looking forward to what the new year has to offer.
  • Celebrate in a New Way- If reminiscing about “yesteryears” has gotten you down, celebrate the holiday this year in a new way.  Start a new tradition like spending Christmas in warmer weather if you’re used to winter weather over the holidays.

Avoid the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays by planning ahead of time. Schedule in downtime and learn to recognize your holiday triggers, so you can combat the holiday blues before they result in a meltdown. This year, focus on the present and positives that surround you and you will find peace and joy during the holidays.

Mental Health and the Holiday Season- GHResource

Have a happy and safe holiday season and a joyous New Year!

Resources:

http://www.webmd.com/depression/holiday-depression-stress#1

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544

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