Why Holidays are Harder with Mental Illness
How many times have you heard, seen, or read, “Happy Holidays!” this month? Chances are, you couldn’t count if you wanted to. What happens then, if you aren’t happy? It’s a common issue that those struggling with mental illness run into.
You might love the holidays. However, if you’re depressed around them, it can be hard to put on a happy face for those that want to have fun. Today, we’re going to talk about the “holiday blues” and how those with mental health issues can work to overcome them and enjoy the holiday season.
Mental Illness Gets Worse During the Holidays
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all Americans will have a mental health issue in their life. On top of this, and one in 25 people will have a severe mental illness, for example, bipolar disorder or major depression.
During the holidays, those people will have it harder. A 2014 survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness found 64 percent of people with mental illness had a harder time managing their health during the holiday season. The reason?
Stress Makes Mental Health Worse
While life has gotten more stress-filled over the past few decades, the holiday season is exponentially more stressful. You have pressures to spend money, go out with friends, ear worse, and look perfect for dinners and parties. Even those that don’t have a mental illness can struggle. That’s why holistic mental health is so essential for everyone this time of year.
How to Help Mental Health During the Holidays
How many times do people pressure you into spending money you don’t have for things you don’t want? You have to be realistic and stick to your goals. Don’t be afraid to tell someone that they are pressuring you, and you don’t appreciate it. Let them know what you can and can’t do. Chances are, they’ll understand and work around your needs.
Don’t Focus on Perfection
The next holistic mental health tip that most people need is about perfection. During the holidays, we feel like we have to be happy, grateful, and pleasant. However, that’s not true! While they might seem extraordinary, the holidays are just another part of life.
You’re not going to be happy every day during April or June, so why would December be any different? Don’t hate yourself for it; focus on your mental health. Work on forgiving yourself and accepting that all you can do is work to get better.
Know How to Say No
The holidays are full of parties, events, and people. This can make December not just stressful, but draining and depressing for those with mental health issues. What makes matters worse? Most mental health professionals are harder to reach this time of the year.
That means missing on some appointments and risking higher than regular depressive episodes. That’s why it’s okay to say no, or even to cancel on events. Knowing that you can back out and should, for your mental health will be important when you work to focus on you this holiday season.