The holidays can be a time for joy and connecting with family and friends, but they can also be stressful at times. The holiday blues can stem from many factors, including preexisting mental health problems, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), emotional and financial pressures, and family conflicts.
A study conducted by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) found that almost two-thirds (64%) of people with mental health disorders felt that their symptoms and conditions worsened during the holidays. Another survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that over 38 percent of Americans felt extreme stress, depression, and anxiety and reported more substance abuse during this time of year.
As the holiday season approaches, learning ways to protect your mental health can help you steer the season with resilience and enjoyment. Here are some tips to help you address the challenges of holiday and mental health.
Identify your holiday triggers ✅
Triggers are people, places, and things that remind us of past trauma or upsetting events. Is hunting down holiday gifts too stressful for you? What makes you feel physically and mentally agitated? Recognize what your triggers are to avoid and cope with stressful situations. Sometimes, family dynamics can be complex. Accept that you can only control your role and set boundaries to limit exposure.
Permit yourself to feel your emotions 🎭
Feeling more emotions than “merry or joyous” during the holidays is OK. And remember that feelings are not “right” or “wrong;” they just are. Accepting your emotions and knowing how to deal with them is essential to communicating healthily.
Surround yourself with support 🤗
Loneliness has negative health effects. Surround yourself with trusted friends and family, or mindfully stay connected with others through digital platforms. Airing out and talking with a good support network can help and remind you of goodness even when there’s stress or loss.
Set realistic expectations ✍️
Look at your energy, emotional, and financial capacity in advance to stop overcommitting or putting pressure on yourself to make the holidays “perfect” for others. Create a budgeting system to keep track of your holiday expenses and stick to the budget you agree with.
Practice self-care 🥗🧖🏻♀️🧘🏻♀️
Keeping healthy habits in place is essential, regardless of your holiday plans. Engage in activities that promote your well-being and avoid self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, which can increase holiday anxiety and depression. These self-care tips include:
- Taking breaks (including paid time off and social media)
- Schedule time for activities that make you feel good: exercising regularly, practicing relaxation, and engaging in hobbies and interests.
- Eating a balanced diet
- Quality of sleep
- Connect with people you enjoy.
Start a new tradition with Cleverfy Beauty 😍🚿
The holidays are a great excuse to treat yourself to extra pampering. We have developed shower steamer tablets with unique therapeutic scents of pure essential oils like Lavender, Peppermint, and Sweet Orange to boost positive moods and wash away negative feelings. Add our aromatherapy steamers to your shower routine and promote your mental well-being while relishing a home spa-like experience in a wallet-friendly way. Do you consider your new tradition to continue all year? We recommend the 18-pack collection because they are the best for daily use and the most economical package.
Seek professional help 👩🏻⚕️
If you are feeling extremely sad, stressed, anxious, or depressed, ask for help. Talk to a mental health professional or a primary care physician for guidance and support!