The holiday season is right around the corner, and people everywhere are gathering with their family and friends to celebrate and make merry. Unfortunately, the holidays are a period of increased stress, anxiety, and dread for many. You may be recovering from financial loss, mourning a loved one, or just unable to feel excitement for the holidays. Whatever the reason, relating to these experiences of seasonal joy can feel impossible.
These feelings are often exacerbated by the expectations of happiness and disappointment of not being able to enjoy this time of year. We are also faced with the demands of the season, the responsibilities of taking care of our young and elderly, and the pressures of shopping for presents and the like. It’s no wonder we are so susceptible to negative emotions this time of year.
So, if you’re worried about your mental health this time of year, know that you’re not alone. Here are some strategies you can employ to manage these emotions.
1. Set reasonable expectations for yourself
The holidays can be different from the previous year. As families grow and adapt, traditions and rituals typically follow. Keep a select handful constant while being open to making new ones. Find innovative ways to celebrate with your family, such as sending each other emails, pictures, and videos, if your relatives or close friends cannot visit you. You can also have a group video call to celebrate remotely if the opportunity arises. Even if your Christmas or holiday plans have been altered, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them.
2. Give yourself time to cool off
Some people find that taking a moment to “cool off” helps them relax and recharge. Give yourself a scheduled break every now and then to catch a few moments for yourself during the holidays. These might occur at particular times of the day, right after an occasion like mealtime, or if a triggering event is to take place.
It could also be beneficial to rest or do something relaxing. For instance, you can take some time to get a refreshing drink of water, read, use your phone, or bask in the silence as you’re cooling off. With enough time spent on your own, you’ll soon feel revived and prepared to interact with others again.
3. Seek support
If you ever feel isolated or alone, you can seek out communal, religious, or any other social gathering or community. You’ll find many websites, social media accounts, online forums, or virtual events if you look them up online. Many will be able to provide you with the assistance and company you require once you reach out to them.
Discussing your worries with a family member or a friend could also be beneficial if you’re experiencing stress around the holidays. Try contacting them via text, phone, or video chat if you feel nervous about doing it in person.
Another way to improve your mood and grow your social circle is by volunteering or doing something charitable. For instance, think of bringing lunch and dessert to a friend’s house over the holidays or helping at your local soup kitchen.
4. Get professional help if needed
Despite your best efforts, you still may experience persistent sadness or anxiety, bodily aches and pains, trouble sleeping, irritability and hopelessness, and the inability to complete everyday tasks. You don’t have to navigate these challenging times on your own. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if these feelings persist.
The holidays don’t have to be a source of dread and anxiety. Instead, you can take the necessary steps to prevent the depression and stress the holiday season can bring. Learn to identify your seasonal triggers, such as stress over money or expectations from others, so you can deal with them before they cause pent-up feelings or a meltdown. With some effort, people you can talk to, and time to yourself, you too can partake in the joys of the season.
If you need a professional counsellor in Singapore, A Space Between can help match you with a mental health care provider best suited for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more.
No matter what you’re facing, perhaps our website can offer up some solace or comfort. Know that you’re not alone, and that there is help available. This can be hard to keep in mind if you haven’t quite found the right support system. While it’s definitely not easy to find the right fit—whether you’re looking for a support group or a mental health provider—with diligence, it’s totally possible.
If you are a therapist, life coach or counsellor looking to join our growing community, head over to book a tour once you have learnt about the plans we offer. At A Space Between, there is a ready league of providers you can network with. With professionals from various backgrounds and therapy practices, there are bound to be the ones you can connect with. Private practice does not have to be lonely.