The holiday season is a busy time for most. With so much to do and plan, many people can become overwhelmed, anxious, stressed and depressed. The Canadian Mental Health Association in Alberta (CMHA) has the following tips to help you maintain your mental wellness during this hectic time.
“The holiday season can be a challenging time for those dealing with mental health issues in our communities. These coping strategies can help reduce feelings of anxiety, isolation, depression or being overwhelmed by too many responsibilities,” comments David Grauwiler, Executive Director for CMHA, Alberta Division.
There are many expenses during the holidays. Whether you are buying presents, food or travelling, you may find yourself overextending your finances. Plan your budget in advance and don’t rely on credit for holiday purchases.
Not everyone in a family gets along, and family members may try guilt trips or push boundaries to make you feel obligated to do things that you don’t want to. Be realistic about what you can handle and communicate boundaries.
During the winter months, our activity levels slow down and there are many opportunities to consume rich food and alcohol. Look for opportunities to get moving and be kind to yourself if you do indulge a limited amount.
TAKING ON TOO MUCH
You may have over-committed or experience unrealistic expectations during the holiday season. Don’t take on more responsibilities than you can handle and prioritize the most important activities. Ask for help from others whenever possible.
LONELINESS AND ISOLATION
Loneliness and isolation can be a concern for many of us during the holidays. Get out of the house by taking up a winter hobby, volunteering in your community or look for low cost holiday activities in your area.
The holidays can be a reminder of the loss of a loved one. Look for ways to keep their memory alive with new traditions and try to surround yourself with supportive friends and family.
SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in seasons. The symptoms include tiredness, depression, mood changes, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, insomnia, decreased interest in activities and overeating. Treatment is available so be sure to speak to a health care professional if you think you may be suffering from SAD.
As the year comes to a close, it’s important to be grateful and gentle with yourself. Don’t set New Year’s resolutions, as they put unnecessary pressure on you. If you want to make a resolution to change something, start today.