Tips for Staying Mentally Healthy Over the Holidays

Tips for Staying Mentally Healthy Over the Holidays

Although they’re meant to be a time for joy, relaxation, and togetherness, the holidays can be the exact opposite for some. This time of year can involve stress over money and gifts, increased strains on your personal relationships, and the amplification of feelings of loneliness and isolation.

If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety or depression during the holiday season, you’re not alone. According to a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse.

But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer during this time of year. Here are a few suggestions to help you stay mentally healthy over the holidays.

Take Some Time for Yourself

With all the stress and pressure of the holiday rush, it’s easy to forget you have needs, too. Take a moment to do something you enjoy when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the weight of holiday expectations.

Create a Plan

Knowing what you need to do, and when you need to do it, can help to alleviate some of your anxiety. Create a detailed plan for when you’re going to take care of your holiday responsibilities.

Avoid Unrealistic Expectations

Just like everything else in life, the holidays are not going to be perfect. Don’t overburden yourself with the impossible task of getting things just right this year. You may find that letting go of your expectations will make this time of year far more enjoyable.

Help Someone

Studies show that altruism is good for you. If you’re battling depression this holiday season, lending a hand to someone in need may help to alleviate your own burden. Just be sure not to overexert yourself in your attempts to help others.

Set Differences Aside

Seeing eye to eye with some of your family members may be an impossibility, but you can do your best to make peace with your differences, or set them aside momentarily, so that your holiday gathering is as stress-free as possible for both you and your family.

Reach Out 

The help you need may only be a phone call away. Let someone you trust know what you’re going through this holiday season. The simple act of expressing yourself to someone you love can help you to feel less isolated.

If you don’t feel that you have someone you can reach out to, there are hotlines, websites, and virtual support groups that seek to lend a helping hand to those in crisis during the holiday season.

Talk to a Professional 

Sometimes your best bet is to seek professional help. Talk to your doctor, or go online, to find a mental health professional that is right for you.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741