For many people getting through the holiday season is no small feat. If it were possible to skip over this period of time, they would gladly do it. Even those who enjoy the festivities, and who adhere to the traditions and rituals that this time brings, can also find the holiday season challenging and at times stressful. The stress may come from a difficult financial situation, having to participate in activities that they do not enjoy, seeing people they rather not have contact with, or having to experience the holidays after a certain loss. It is not surprising therefore that for many the holiday season is not a joyous time and they struggle to care for their emotional health.
Individuals may feel so stressed out about the holidays that they may experience anxiety or depression. In many instances people are already experiencing mental health issues and adding the stress of the holiday season exacerbates these symptoms.
Many people suffer due to the belief that they have little choice in how they experience the holidays. The perspective that traditions and rituals are to be followed without deviating from what has been done or is expected by family, friends and even themselves, leaves them feeling guilty. It may also lead to feeling stuck in performing a role and running the risk of further hindering their well-being.
So what is one to do if there are situations and issues that are making it difficult to deal with the holidays?
There are several strategies that can be used to help to take care of your emotional health this holiday season.
- Be patient with yourself. It is time to self-evaluate your emotions in an honest manner. What do you think you are able to do for yourself and others, physically and emotionally?
- Rely on those who care about you. Do you rely on family, friends, or co-workers to help you deal with difficulties in your life? If thinking about who you can rely on brings up very few people or no one, it is time to start asking what is keeping you from making these connections to be able to grow your support system.
- Change expectations for yourself and others if the old expectations lead to dissatisfaction or negative feelings. If the expectations have always been difficult to meet, then working on becoming more flexible might give better results. It might be that new traditions and rituals are in order.
- Figuring out what it is that stresses you out the most might be a good place to start. Is the interaction with certain individuals, a particular event or date, or a particular situation bringing up negative feelings or reactions? Beaware of the triggers and make changes to avoid or change reactions.
- Helping others in need where you become someone else’s support system allows you to change the way you see situations or events.
- Ask for support when you feel overwhelmed. Ask your support system to help you consider your options and if you continue to think that reaching an emotionally healthy feeling around the holidays is difficult, contacting a professional to assist you in feeling better could provide the support you need.
- Take care of yourself by sleeping well, exercising , and sticking to your established plans when it comes to your physical and mental health needs.
Following a routine that leads to a positive and healthy physical and emotional well-being allows you to deal with situations that life presents to you. Your emotional health is key to living a life you love.
For more information, questions or concerns, or you need assistance on the road to being emotionally healthy please call Maria Rodriguez-Fischer at 919-401-8261.