Coping with Mental Illness During the Holidays

For many, the holidays can be a very anxious and stressful time for a lot of different reasons.

Suppose you’re responsible for buying your family gifts or expected to be at certain family events with relatives you don’t particularly feel comfortable socialising with. Suppose you already have a lot of anxiety and stress in your life, so much so that the holidays add way too much pressure, or merely suppose you have social anxiety, and even fun events can be a little challenging.

Let me say now, there is nothing wrong with these feelings, and they are entirely valid.

This article provides some tips and advice you can use to hopefully help decrease your anxiety and stress when it comes to the holidays.

  • The best tip would be to acknowledge your feelings so you are able to come up with ways on how best to deal with them (i.e. journaling and listening to music).
  • Plan ahead so you don’t get caught off guard, whether that’s budgeting money for presents, or booking things in advance.
  • If you can’t afford a present for everyone, try a kris kringle. 
  • Reach out to your loved ones or a trusted friend to vent your feelings about the holidays and your worries when it comes to socialising with family, hopefully, they will console you and try to make it less daunting for you.
  • DON’T ABANDON YOUR HEALTHY HABITS. Try and keep a good routine because it will make the holidays less stressful.

  • Try stress vitamins. 
  • Learn to say no. There is nothing worse than dealing with unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and excessive commitments which can make your depression a lot worse. Not saying no can lead to headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and insomnia. I understand learning to say no can be hard, especially to all the delicious foods available at Christmas. A simple way to start saying no would say no to your friends if you don’t feel like going out or no to covering shifts for people if you want a day off. You don’t always need to be available.
  • Take time for yourself, it could be simple as waking up earlier to enjoy a coffee before getting ready to tackle the day.
  • Don’t look for relief in alcohol or drugs. Although it can be tempting to “take the edge off” at holiday events, alcohol and drugs can make anxiety worse and may trigger panic attacks.
  • Exercise and stay active. Exercising is a great way to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety as it provides your brain with chemicals that make you happy (i.e. serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine).

I hope some of these tips have been helpful, let me know what you do to take the edge off holiday stress.

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