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Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide

For many people, it’s the same sensation every holiday season. The leaves are changing color and there’s crispness in the air: The holidays are coming! Late fall and early winter can be a beautiful time of year for most. For others, it’s the sign of trepidation, or worse, straight-up anxiety. For many, these changes trigger excitement, family, and enjoyment. For others, it can be the opposite: Dread, worry, and often some of the most demanding days of the year. Feeling down or sad during holiday time is normal. High expectations, increased workloads, crowds, and financial burdens are all part of the factors that make people feel worried and add that level of impending stress.

In addition, new and old patterns of stressful behaviors tend to emerge come holiday time. Ability to cope can be reduced, stress levels can rise, and anxiety can creep its way back into life. Sometimes those beautiful fall colors indicate a sense of worry. Fall holidays are right around the corner with all their preparations, stresses, and trepidation.

How to navigate some of the typical holiday pitfalls

  • Keep yourself busy.
  • Plan activities you enjoy.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Set a budget and stick to it.
  • Utilize relaxation daily.
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.
  • Talk with friends and coworkers you trust.
  • Get support from family.
  • Say no to extravagant plans that have made you anxious in the past.
  • Reach out to a mental-health provider if feelings become overwhelming.

For people with depression or past depressive episodes, the holidays are an increasingly challenging time. Idealized moments can feel unattainable and even out of reach. It’s a time when depression can cause isolation and stress. Exercise, keep active, and have sensible expectations. If your down moments are overwhelming, reach out to a provider such as LiveWell Counseling. Enjoy the holidays moments that you can, stay prepared and realistic, and reach out to your supports.

To learn more about mental health at Christian Health, please visit our website.

By Bart Mongiello, LCSW

Director of Outpatient Mental-Health Services at Christian Health