It's that time of year again...
For a lot of people it means holiday music in the background, laughing, and spreading cheer. But for a lot of people the holidays don't only cause problems for those who are suffering with a mental illness, but it also brings up the holiday blues.
The holiday blues is what defined as being the despair of the holiday season that is triggered by wants and desires or just the anxiety and stress of the season. It's mostly unavoidable and about 65% of American people suffer with some form of holiday blues or their mental illness takes over in a full charge (Laura Greenstein, 2015).
It's a tough time for a lot of people and it doesn't really help when your relatives bombard you with questions or just don't understand how to help those who are suffering. But don't worry here is 7 tips that I have found helpful to get through this holiday season.
1) Acknowledge your feelings
It's understandable that you're feeling a lot of anxiety, stress, and depression during this time of year. The holidays can be really scary and overwhelming, especially if you're suffering with an eating disorder or something more extreme. However, it's important to highlight and realize your feelings during this time. Writing and seeing them out on paper is a great way to acknowledge exactly how you're feeling and maybe why you're feeling this way.
2) Reach out and accept any help
If you have battled with a mental illness before you know there is people out there that love and support you. Don't worry about bothering them during the holidays and reach out to those who care about you. Sometimes there are only a few people who actually know that you're battling and those are the people you want to get in touch with. Also, don't be afraid to seek help from relatives that have an understanding of what's going on.
3) Plan ahead
Okay, so this one may be rough. But just try and make list of what you plan to do during your free days. List come in handy when your brain is scattered all over the place and you just seem hopeless. Plan ahead on what your actions will be and how you can manage your feelings during stressful situations.
4) Learn to say "no" or nothing at all
So, it's pretty obvious that the holidays are the notorious for your aunts, uncles, and grandparents to get heavy on the questions about your personal life. They are just trying to be noisy and see if you're doing okay or not. I understand that it can be annoying and being up a lot of anxiety. Learn to say no or nothing at all when they bring up personal questions that you feel uncomfortable answering. Trust me... They will get over it.
5) Don't abandon your habits... That includes your healthy habits
It's important to get enough sleep even if it seems like you can't go to sleep without completing something... Just take a break and pace yourself. Also, don't forget to have healthy snacks with all the sweets that come with holidays. Exercising and meditating that involves practicing mindfulness will also help you stay fit and help you de-stress.
6) Take a break and focus on other things
This depends on what you like to do. If you like to read then catch up on some reading even if it means re-reading your favorite book. Watch one of your favorite tv shows, write, paint, go for runs, listen to music. This is the time that you're suppose to be on break, so give yourself a break.
7) Know that it will be over shortly
The holidays don't last long and your holiday blues will hopefully fade away and everything won't seem as bad, but they don't then I suggest to seek medical help. I think it's important to put yourself first when it comes to mental illness. Just know that and I believe in you.