It’s not uncommon to feel sad, angry, or have other negative emotions during the holiday season. Mental health symptoms can impact a person at any time. But, the stress of the holidays and the memories surrounding this time of year can make it even harder to deal with these symptoms. So, it’s important to be able to recognize mental health symptoms during the holiday season and get the help that’s needed to sustain mental health recovery.
There are reasons that the holidays can bring about more challenges for people living with mental health issues. Some of these reasons include:
Seclusion: Being alone during the holidays can bring about and intensify negative emotions, especially for people with depression. Being separated from friends and family can make symptoms of mental health issues, especially during the holidays, even more difficult.
Grief: The memories that come with the holiday season may remind you of a loved one. Or, maybe you’ve recently lost someone who meant a lot to you. In either case, celebrating the holidays can seem like a daunting task for those dealing with grief.
Overbearing: The holidays can be very overwhelming. They come with certain financial obligations like gift-giving and traveling. Plus, the holidays are a super busy time as you are attempting to spread time between friends, family, and other loved ones. When there’s little time for self-care and lots of stress like during the holidays, managing symptoms of mental health can be more challenging.
Mental health issues like anxiety and depressive disorders can showcase symptoms during the holiday season. Recognizing these symptoms can help you determine if you may need to reach out for professional help. Some of the identifying symptoms of these issues can include:
-intense mood swings that seem to happen out-of-the-blue
-avoiding others and not wanting to partake in holiday activities
-being short with your loved ones
-excessive shopping/spending on holiday gifts (to make other happy)
-being overly worried, stressed, or overwhelmed with holiday events/obligations
Do you find yourself overstressed or even depressed during the holidays? If you’re feeling the ‘holiday blues’, there are a few things you can do:
Set Limits: You know what you can handle. But, scheduling too much during the holidays can lead to even more challenging mental health symptoms. It’s best for people in mental health recovery or those that know the holidays are more challenging to them mentally to set limits for their holiday season. This means saying no when your schedule is already packed and leaving events when you start to feel overwhelmed.
Manage Expectations: It’s easy to get caught up in what you expect from the holidays but then be disappointed when things don’t go as planned. This can lead to spiraling mental health symptoms. So, make sure you’re realistic with not only others but yourself as well as far as expectations during the holiday season. Remember, it’s okay if you can’t do everything you’ve set out to do.
Take Care of Yourself First: The holidays may be about giving, but it’s important that you also give to yourself. Taking care of yourself can help you better tackle the holidays. So, do things that you know benefit your mental health including eating healthily, getting enough sleep, and practicing mindfulness.
Sometimes, tips for managing holiday stress, anxiety, and depression simply aren’t enough. When this is the case, it’s important to consider professional mental health help. For example, the outpatient psychiatric treatment and therapy services available at Delray Brain Science. If you are struggling with mental health during the holidays, we can help you work toward mental health recovery. Find out more about how we can help you on our website.