The Holiday Season and Your Mental Health

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Holiday family photos light up Facebook throughout the month of December. Trees are being lit, houses are overflowing with decorations inside and out – the holidays are in full effect. It’s impossible to be anything but elated this time of year, right?


Many people find themselves overwhelmed, stressed, depressed and worn down this time of year. The financial stress alone can really turn the holidays into a real headache. High expectations of what the holidays “should” be like is also a struggle for many. This may be the first holiday when you have to share custody of your children after a recent divorce. It may be your first Christmas after the passing of a loved one. An alcoholic family member shows up to your holiday dinner and an argument breaks out.

Hallmark may focus on the highlights of the season, but it’s important that we all pay attention to the fact that this may also be a very difficult time for many.

Mental Health in the Holidays Psychiatric Help in Las Vegas

Here are a few tips that may ease your holiday blues:

  1. Go easy on yourself. If your house isn’t decorated like the Griswolds, it’s OK. The decorations don’t make the holiday – it’s much more than that. The holiday is going to come whether your lights are up or not. Breathe and let it go. If you don’t have the time (or energy…or desire) to participate in your work “cookie exchange”, then don’t. It’s perfectly acceptable to admit that you just don’t have the time right now but you would be happy to help with the set up and coordination.
  2. More money spent does NOT equal a better holiday. We’ve all heard this right? “I am so sorry about your gifts this year, I wanted to get you more…” Why are people apologizing? Don’t make gift giving the focus of the holidays. Start a tradition that does not involve a lot of money, or any at all. Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen, donate blood or have a post-holiday pot luck party. If you have children, come up with a fun activity for them to do after their gifts so they are not always focused on the presents, but more so what comes after the presents – maybe involve them in baking cookies! Sometimes we end up spending money just for the sake of spending money – not necessary. Focus on quality, not quantity.
  3. It’s OK to be alone…or not. The holidays can be a bit “crowding” sometimes. You may feel like you have had zero down time and zero alone time. If you are looking for alone time, then you deserve to ask for it. Go for a walk. Ask if your partner can take care of the kids while you go take a nap. Taking care of yourself is more important than anything else. Hands down. On the flip side, if you are feeling lonely – reach out. Call friends or family and see if they want to come over or go out for a bite to eat. Sometimes, a change of scenery is all it takes!
  4. Try not to focus on the past. Many of us may have had childhood holiday experiences that were less than desirable. Try not to hold onto those memories – you are capable of making new ones. As a matter of fact, you DESERVE to make new memories! Change it up – don’t try to mimic your childhood simply because it’s familiar. Change the story in your head by creating a “new normal” for the holidays.

The bottom line is this - It’s no secret that the holidays are not everything to all people. Go easy on yourself, breathe, learn to let go of the “over obligation” mentality and make sure to take time to laugh when you can…it’s truly the best medicine.

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