For some, thoughts of the holiday season bring to mind images of cozy sweaters, warm blankets, holiday movie marathons, and hot chocolate. It is often a time filled with family gatherings and nostalgia; however, it might be hard for some Christmas-aficionados to realize the holiday season can be filled with stress, anxiety, and depression for many others.
Between travel and gift shopping, it can be a financially turbulent time. However, finances are only one of the many triggers during the holidays. For some, loneliness sets in if they cannot be with family or have recently experienced loss. For others, the stress of hosting or planning extravagant events can cause anxiety. If you find that you wish you could enjoy yourself and worry less, consider these steps for managing your mental health this holiday season.
Keep Visiting Your Therapist
The holiday season can mean you are traveling more, attending more social events, with less time to have check-ins with your therapist. The key to staying on track with recovery or managing anxiety or depression is to maintain a consistent schedule with your therapist. While everything around you feels like it is moving quickly or changing, you have that constant help to keep you grounded.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
Between red wine and spiked eggnog, the cooler weather and all of the work, friend, and family gatherings can be centered around food and alcohol. However, if you are trying to manage your anxiety or depression, definitely stay away from depressants like drugs and alcohol. In fact, staying sober during this season will allow you to be more aware of potential triggers and when you should be seeking additional help to manage them.
The best way to avoid surprises and triggers is to have realistic expectations. What does this mean? The end of a calendar year and start of a new one can be an incredibly reflective time. It is time to celebrate accomplishments or for some who are struggling, dwell on missteps. The best way to navigate is to always have realistic goals and not treating the end or start of a year as a major milestone. Your life is not ending or beginning during the holiday season; take the time to simply enjoy family or to set new positive goals for your life. If you get through the season without increased stress or anxiety, you are already a winner. Your mental health is incredibly important and taking the necessary steps to take of yourself is a major accomplishment.
Therefore, during this holiday season, think about the ways you can be proactive with your health to avoid any negative triggers. Remember to rely on friends, family, your therapist or support group and that you are not alone. Feeling lonely, fighting depression, or feeling anxious at a party is not a weakness. Knowing your triggers and ways to manage them is absolutely tangible. Contact the professionals at Advantage Mental Health Center today to be proactive this holiday season!