It’s not easy to take care of your mental health during the holiday season. Whether it’s handling family dynamics, dealing with unpleasant memories or grieving during an especially sentimental time of year, the holidays can bring challenges for our mental health. Here are some reminders and ways you can check in on your mental health and wellness during this time of year.
Remember that this time of year is temporary. One of the ways that your mental health can spiral is by believing that you’ll never stop feeling how you’re feeling in that moment. The same can be said for the holiday season. It can feel like we have to endure months and months of sadness or pain, but remembering that there is an end date that is approaching can help provide some solace when it seems like this time will never end.
If you feel alone, tell someone. Even though you might not think so, the mental health stigma is still incredibly real. When people return to family or their hometowns during the holidays, that stigma or shame can return or turn up in a major way. Even if you can’t share all of your feelings, letting a person know that you don’t feel great is a helpful first step.
Know that people are feeling the same way you are. In my post earlier this week, I shared a study from NAMI that said 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse. The holidays aren’t easy for everyone, but it can be easy to believe that everyone in the world is enjoying this time of year except you. We get into our own world and think our feelings are unique, but it’s important to understand that mental health affects us all – even during the holidays.
Get your rest and time alone when you need. Stress is known to exacerbate symptoms of mental illness, and this time of year can create a lot of stress for people. It’s wonderful to connect or reconnect with people you haven’t seen in awhile, but we all need time to rest and recharge during this time of year. It’s important to take the time you need, and know that you’re doing it so that you can be the best version of yourself – for you and others.
Put your wellness first. This might sound a little generic, but putting your wellness first is a priority during the holiday season – and putting your wellness first looks however you need it to look. I know that for me, my anxiety can get triggered and I need more time to myself than I might have originally thought. I also know that my anxiety can turn to depression when I get frustrated with how poorly I can handle the holidays at times, and in those moments I need to find a way to collect myself and feel my emotions. It’s not wrong to put your wellness first when you need it – and it’s especially important this time of year.