The holiday season is meant to be a joyous occasion that brings family and friends together. Even in the midst of all the excitement, there are moments of stress and anxiety for everyone. Many people love this time of year.
But, that isn’t the case for everyone. The holidays can be a difficult and emotionally exhausting time, especially when we’re in recovery and struggling to remain clean and sober. Seeing the apparent cheer of others on social media, television, and among friends can make us feel even more down, deepening the symptoms of depression.
There are many ways to take care of your mental well-being during the holidays. Some of these strategies may work better for you than others. Try a few to find what works best and makes a difference in how you’re feeling.
- Make sure your expectations are realistic. Ask yourself if you’re expecting too much from yourself. Or perhaps whether you’re expecting too much from someone else. Then, see how those expectations are making you feel. Are they helpful or stressful? It helps to downsize your expectations.
- Practice saying ‘no’. You’re one person, and there’s only so much you can do in a given day or a given holiday. Remind yourself that it’s okay to say no.
- Limit external sources of holiday pressure. Maybe take a break from social media if seeing other people’s holiday photos is causing you to engage in self-comparison. Find winter activities to enjoy (either solo or with others) that aren’t associated with the holidays – like running, for example.
- Don’t slack on self-care. If going to yoga helps you cope with stress, keep doing that. If spending time with friends or family helps, connect with them often. Avoid situations with stressful people, even if they are family. Take time for yourself and be open to experimenting with new self-care strategies.
- Talk to a mental health professional. Talk therapy can help you cope with stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Discuss medication or helpful lifestyle changes that may be able to help alleviate some of your symptoms.
L.A. CADA provides behavioral health treatment and housing. We’re here for you over the holidays. Call us at (562) 906-2676.