For many people the holiday season is not always the most wonderful time of year. According to a recent survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse. Join Avery, Jamie, and Lucy in their discussion regarding how and why the holiday season can affect one’s mental health. We discuss how stress can arise from a variety of sources including loneliness, hectic schedules, overstimulation, high expectations, comparison-making, personal grief, economic concerns, separation from and/or conflict with family members, and emphasis on food and alcohol. Lastly, we offer suggestions on how to cope more effectively during the holiday season.
Do try this at home:
- Be mindful, name, and validate that holiday stress exists and can exacerbate mental illness.
- Rehearse and role-play how you will approach various holiday events.
- Stick to routines and schedules as best as you can.
- Engage in self-care and take breaks when needed.
- Manage expectations and make holidays “ordinary” to take the pressure off.
- Ask for support from others, including mental health providers.
- 1-800-273-TALK is the National Suicide Crisis Hotline