According to the lyrics of a holiday song, this is the most wonderful time of the year. In reality, this time of year can be difficult, especially for those living with a mental health diagnosis and those who care for them.
There are less daylight hours and it’s cold, which can affect mood. There may be painful memories of holidays past and pressures to make the festive season picture perfect. It can be a season of excess… too much food and alcohol, too many obligations, or expectations, and too much spending. Some folks feel lonely and others are frantically busy.
Fortunately, there are helpful ways to combat the “holiday blues.”
Self-care is always important and may help minimize the holiday blues. Some things to consider to help navigate holiday challenges are:
- Enjoy a healthy diet.
- Exercise and spend time in nature. No need to run a marathon, just move. Fifteen minutes in the sun can work wonders.
- Make sleep a priority, and if you are sick, take care of yourself.
- Write down three to five things each day that you are grateful for.
- Don’t compare yourself to others or to images on social media.
- Strive to balance time spent with others and time spent alone recharging.
- Help others — visit an elder, help an exhausted parent, or volunteer in your community. It’s especially gratifying to help someone who can do nothing for you in return.
- Listen to music, watch a favorite TV show, bake, craft, or read a good book.
- Try mindful meditation – be aware of the present moment without judgement instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
- Attend a support group, take your prescription meds, and keep therapy/support appointments.
Do not hesitate to seek professional help if life becomes overwhelming.
Soon, the holiday season will be over and 2020 will offer fresh opportunities.
NAMI Arapahoe/Douglas Counties aims to get you connected. We offer free mental health education, support, and outreach opportunities.
In crisis, please reach out to Colorado Crisis Services.
Contributed by NAMI ADCO dedicated Volunteer Coordinator, Jean Spahr.