Mental Health Tips For The Holidays
Christmas cookies, latkes, family traditions, spinning the dreidel, presents, and holiday cheer. While the end of the year is supposed to be filled with general merriment, for many people this is simply not that case. Along with unrealistic holiday expectations, the holiday season can also be a time of stress, depression, and loneliness.
Maintaining Good Mental Health During The Holidays
For people who already struggle with poor mental health, the holidays can be a struggle. 64% of people with a mental illness say the holidays make their conditions worse.1 While the end of the year may catch up with you, there are some things you can do to try and keep the holiday blues at bay. As a mental health treatment center in Lighthouse Point, we are providing some mental health tips for the holidays to get you through.
Do What Will Make You Happy
Too many people get caught up in what they are supposed to be doing over the holidays and neglect what they actually want to do. Instead of going to all the parties that you feel you are obligated to attend, stay home and bake cookies with your children or go see The Nutcracker like you have always wanted to. When you focus on what makes you happy and not what other people want from you, you will find yourself enjoying the holidays a lot more.
Try Something New
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut where we try too hard to do every holiday tradition just because it’s tradition. If the kids no longer enjoy building gingerbread houses and the whole process becomes a nightmare, do not do it anymore. Instead, create new traditions that everyone can enjoy. Think outside the box.; it doesn’t even have to be holiday-related. You can simply use the holidays as an excuse to do something fun.
Meditation, yoga, a walk, journaling, a bath – These are all healthy ways to cope with feelings of depression, but all too often people turn to drugs or alcohol instead. The result can be a drug or alcohol addiction on top of their mental health problems. Instead of putting yourself in a position where you now need help for a co-occurring disorder, make a point to focus on healthy coping mechanisms. This habit will help you far beyond the holidays.
Set Realistic Expectations
One of the most important mental health tips for the holidays that many people neglect to follow is managing their expectations. It is easy to get caught up in the spirit of the holidays, but the result can often leave you feeling disappointed. Remind yourself that things can go wrong and that nothing will be as picturesque as the classic holiday songs and movies make it seem.
Sometimes just changing your environment can make a big difference, especially if you are in recovery and your home is filled with drug triggers. Go away for a long weekend or plan an extravagant trip. It will give you something to look forward to and keep your mind off of all of the stresses that can come with the holidays.
Talk to Someone
Sometimes all you need is a good friend to listen, but when all else fails and it feels like more than just the winter blues, it may be time to get professional help. Mental health therapy and treatment with a certified professional could make a big difference. At Portner Counseling, we offer just that because we understand that mental illness is more than something you can just get over on your own.
Your mental health during the holidays may suffer, but remember you are not alone. There are plenty of other people out there who are also wrestling with the holiday blues. Just know when to get professional help. Contact us to see if we can help you.
Casey is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Addictions Professional. Casey has spent more than 10 years working with individuals with addiction and co-occurring disorders, providing individual and group therapy, consultation and assessment, and case management in both a hospital and outpatient setting.