It seems holidays are a hard time for most people. For those of us with mental illness, holidays can be particularly isolating, triggering & extremely stressful.
I’ve pretty much overcome holiday stress because I only celebrate what I believe in, which is good will all year long and not just during the holidays. I’ve stopped caring what other people think and adhering to what they think I should do or believe. (See: How to Stop Caring What People Think) I also don’t actually celebrate anything, I just relax during the few extra days I get off from work.
I think there are too many “Have Tos” and “Shoulds” people hold themselves to that make them feel bad. They also sometimes compare themselves to some unreal, glamorous idea of how others celebrate Christmas, Yule, Festivus, Kwanza, Solstice or whatever other winter holiday you do (or DON’T) prefer.
What I prefer of to help myself and not dither about what other people are thinking, doing or saying around the holidays.
Her are some generic ‘What To Do” tips for the holiday season. If you have your own tips and advice that works for you, please share with us all in the comments section
- Remember to take care of yourself physically
- Proper sleep and nutrition are key stress busters. Lack of sleep will make you tired, irritable and more vulnerable to emotional ups and downs.
- Those who indulge in over eating and over drinking put themselves at risk. Alcohol consumption interferes with sleep and causes or increases feelings of depression.
- Be realistic
- Give yourself realistic limits about what you can do. Only commit to the number of parties or activities you can actually enjoy attending. Running from event to event doesn’t turn out to be much fun and creates unnecessary stress and anxiety.
- Stay within your financial comfort zone
- Perhaps one of the greatest risk factors for holiday depression has to do with financial excess. While it is great to want to get a gift for every person who has been important to you over the year, can you really afford to buy everyone you want everything you want? Overspending not only causes stress during the holiday season, but when it is all over, people experience resentment and worry over the subsequent months as they stress over how to fill in the budget gap that was created.
- Do something that makes you feel good and helps others
- Nothing takes us out of a funk faster than helping someone else. It feels good to the doer and the receiver. Volunteer at your favorite charity or serve at a soup kitchen.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help
If you are in crisis now or if you or someone you are concerned about is in a crisis state and at risk of harm to yourself, others, or property, or at risk of psychiatric hospitalization, you may exercise any of the following three options:
- Call 911 (Police and fire department personnel are trained responders to situations involving mental health issues.) or
- Go to the Emergency room at a local area hospital or
- Contact the nearest provider of crisis psychiatric services