Hell and the holidays may be quite similar, for some. 77% of Americans say that they have a very hard time relaxing during the holidays.
The holidays can be stressful for anyone. But they can prove to be a real challenge for people with depression, anxiety, and mental health disorders. Yet you can improve both the holidays and mental health.
How can you spend time with others? What are some activities that will keep you active without exhausting you? What are some problems affecting mental health during holidays?
Answer these questions and you can maintain your wellness throughout the winter. Here is your quick guide.
Spend Time With Others
Certain interactions with others can impact your mental health during the holidays. A 2020 study found that social connections are the strongest protective factor for depression.
Try to find some opportunities to speak to other people. You can talk to your work associates about your responsibilities and office politics.
Talk to your friends or strangers as well. You don’t have to talk about the holidays or holiday blues if you don’t want to. Even basic conversations can alleviate depression and anxiety.
If you choose to go to family events, figure out who will be there. Then think of some people you want to talk to and some people you want to avoid. You can turn someone down politely if they approach you.
Consider doing something with others besides talking to them. You can share a meal, play a game, or watch a movie. Doing a group activity can engage your mind and let you share a memorable experience.
Being with others does not mean doing everything for them. You can turn down responsibilities if you find them stressful.
Honor People Who Aren’t With You
Grief can make mental health and the holidays a challenge. It is okay for anyone to feel sad at any time, especially after a loved one has passed away.
Do not ignore your emotions. Think about something you can do to channel your feelings in a positive direction.
Donating some money or time to a cause your loved one admired is a great way to honor their memory. You can also set a place at the dinner table for them or look at old pictures of them.
Some people find it productive to continue old traditions. They may cook a dish that their loved one used to make or go to an important location. But this can be painful and it can bring up bittersweet memories.
Consider creating a new tradition instead. If your loved one liked to cook, you can cook a new dish you think they may have liked.
Find Things to Do by Yourself
Self-care may mean spending some time by yourself. This is especially important for anyone who finds social situations exhausting.
Spend an hour or so every day doing things that you want to do. They can be your hobbies, self-care activities, or something else.
Try to disconnect from the world while you are doing these activities. Turn your phone off and don’t look at your social media accounts. Try to get out of your house and find a place where you can be alone.
Feel free to experiment with some new activities. Meditation is a good way to introspect and escape from the rest of the world. You can try producing art that tells your story or lets you express feelings in a different way.
Don’t Break the Bank
You can give presents to others and cook lavish meals if you want to. But spending too much money can be stressful for anyone.
Before you buy something, spend some time on the internet. Look for any alternatives that may be cheaper.
You do not have to spend money on travel. Use videoconferencing software to talk to your loved ones face-to-face. You can also communicate through phone calls and emails.
You can always decline to give gifts. You can give experiences instead of material objects. You can write a story for someone or help them with a household task.
Learn About Mental Health During Holidays
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that occurs during the winter. It can affect people who have never experienced depression before. Symptoms include sleeping too much, feeling lethargic, and overeating.
The disorder results from a lack of exposure to sunlight. Treatment can involve light therapy and antidepressants.
Many people think of seasonal affective disorder when they think of mental health during the holidays. But the disorder is only one condition that a person faces. Anyone can experience anxiety or a condition like OCD.
Be attentive to your mental health. Recording your feelings in a journal can help you track how things are going.
Find some literature about mental health conditions during the holidays from organizations like the CDC. Perform some self-tests, including a self-test for depression.
If you are pursuing mental health treatment, stay the course. Talk to your doctor when you want to try something new or change something about your treatment.
Get Help for the Holidays and Mental Health
The holidays and mental health can be joyous. Feel free to spend some time with family members, but know your limits. Honor your loved ones who have passed away through small activities.
Spend some time caring for yourself and doing your favorite things. You can decrease financial stress by shopping for cheap gifts or gifting experiences instead.
Seasonal affective disorder is one issue that can affect mental health during holidays. But any sort of problem can arise. You can always get help for your mental health. Acera Health serves Orange County residents. Contact us today.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.