Anxiety, Depression, and The Holidays
Updated: Jan 3
The holiday season can be a joyous and exciting time of year, but for those suffering from anxiety and/or depression, it can be a time of increased stress. The holidays place a large demand on people, including seasonal activities, family obligations, and financial strains. These demands can quickly break down mental and emotional boundaries. There are some ways a person can take control of the holidays.
Take control of the holidays with these 10 steps:
1. Acknowledge your feelings
It is ok to take time to express your feelings, whether those are feelings of sadness or grief. You do not need to force yourself to be happy just because it is the holidays.
2. Reach out
Connect with friends and/or family, and/or community members, attend social events, or volunteer if you are feeling lonely, isolated, or sad.
3. Be realistic
The holidays do not have to be perfect and if traditions change, have fun creating new ones.
4. Set aside differences
Try to be accepting and understanding of others. This can be a stressful time for others as well. Try to discuss differences after the holiday.
5. Stick to a budget
Before you begin shopping, set a budget for gifts and food. Then stick to that budget. Do not feel obligated to get everyone huge or expensive gifts.
6. Plan ahead
Decide on, plan, and organize all your activities and menus for the holiday season. Do your shopping in advance. This will help you avoid scrambling at the last minute.
7. Learn to say no
If you are feeling overwhelmed or have too much on your plate, it is ok to say no to an activity, event, or invitation. If something comes up that you can not say to, see if it is possible to cancel or move something else on your schedule.
8. Don’t abandon healthy habits
Eat a healthy snack before you overindulge in unhealthy sweets and meals. Get plenty of sleep and maintain any exercise routines you have in place.
9. Take a breather
Make sure to take time for yourself. Take a break by yourself, take a walk, listen to soothing music, or read a book.
10. Seek professional help when you need it
Despite your best efforts, you may still be struggling. If you are having a difficult time, contact your doctor or mental health professional.
These steps may help significantly, but you can still be struggling and need the help of a mental health professional. Dr. Nicole C. Murray is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Psychotherapist that can provide you with excellent support. Visit our website New York Neurobehavioral Services to learn more and set up an appointment.