Your Guide to The Holidays and Mental Health
The holidays are right around the corner — a time for cheer, reflection, family, and loved ones. It can also be filled with stress, triggers, and much more, especially during COVID-19. The holidays are not always so easy and fun, especially for those who have struggled with addiction and mental health conditions. If you are worried about the holidays and mental health issues arising, keep reading for how to start preparing now and when it might be time to get help.
Holidays and Mental Health: Where to Start
As the saying goes, preparation is key, and that is especially true when it comes to your mental health. Before the madness of the holidays begins, sit down and go through this checklist:
- What do the holidays look like this year? Your family may decide that they would like to forgo regular traditions in favor of staying safe for the pandemic. How will you spend it instead? Start making a plan with your family now, and also start thinking of a backup plan.
- Will you be traveling? Traveling can be stressful, especially during a pandemic, and removing yourself from your everyday routine can be as well. Try to decide if you will be traveling and how long of a trip you can handle. If you won’t be traveling, how will it feel to be alone at home? Will you feel triggered or like you are missing out?
- Will you be hosting an event? Having Christmas morning at your place or cooking up Thanksgiving for the whole family are all romantic notions, however, they can cause a strain on your mental health, especially during COVID-19. Don’t commit to anything you don’t think you can handle, or if you already have, start lining up people to help you that day.
- Will family be staying with you? Having family stay in your home can seem fun at first, until you realize that your daily routine and personal alone time are being imposed on. This can cause a flare-up with mental health issues, no matter how much you love your family. Start thinking about how to ask your family about quarantining before coming, whether or not you even want them to come, or possibly taking COVID tests before arrival.
Common Holiday Triggers
Being aware of the common holiday triggers is one way to help during the holidays and mental health flare-ups. These include:
- Spending money. The holidays are a time when the spending is up, whether it is on gifts for loved ones, decorations for the home, a plane ticket, and more. This can be especially difficult and stressful while on a tight budget.
- Toxic relationships. Just because they are family doesn’t mean that you get along and are good for each other in each other’s lives. Even if you and this person are cordial, it can still be stressful to be around them.
- Eating unhealthily. The holidays are known for delicious treats and extravagant meals, which can derail your healthy eating habits. Just remember that it is only temporary and it is perfectly okay to indulge every now and then, but don’t take it too overboard. Poor food choices can lead to depression.
- Pressure. Whether it’s acting as the “hostess with the mostess” or finding the perfect gift for someone who has really been there for you lately, there are strange places that pressure can build. This makes it especially important to practice your self-care.
One of the best ways to take care of your mental health is to carve out time for self-care. This can be difficult during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but make sure to squeeze it in, even if it is 5 minutes. It is likely that you have been practicing your self-care regularly during quarantine, but it is especially important to keep up with it during the holidays.
While you might not have time to go to the gym or are able to eat healthily, there are still many things you can do, including:
- Go for a walk around the block if you’re beginning to feel triggered
- Start your day with a 10-minute meditation session
- Watch a funny movie before you go to bed
- Call one of your friends and share your day with them
- Look at funny memes and videos on social media
When to Get Help
Sometimes, no matter how much you try, you may still hit unexpected speedbumps during the holidays that can put a setback on your mental health. Underlying mental health conditions can quickly lead to addiction and overdose issues as well as suicide. This is why getting help as soon as you need it is important, even if it is just days away from Christmas.
It may be time for you to consider getting help if:
- You are using street drugs, alcohol or dangerous prescription drugs.
- You notice your anxiety is becoming out of control to manage
- You may be feeling depressed
- You have suicidal thoughts
- You are isolating from friends and family during this time
About Seasons in Malibu
The Beach Cottage at Seasons in Malibu is a stand-alone facility that offers life-changing treatment for individuals suffering from mental health disorders. Licensed by the State of California and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, the Beach Cottage offers doctorate level, one-on-one therapy in an intimate, luxurious, residential setting, steps away from a private beach.
Individuals who complete our mental health treatment program are overwhelmingly happy with the results of the care they receive here. More than ninety-five percent of them say they would refer a loved one or family member seeking mental health treatment to us. We believe the fact that clients overwhelmingly recommend us is proof of the quality of treatment and compassion new clients can expect when coming to The Beach Cottage at Seasons in Malibu.
With our superior team of clinicians, we are able to succinctly pinpoint those areas of focus which will give the client the most advanced opportunity for success. Our approach towards healing is collaborative, comprehensive and committed.
In addition to our top-notch drug and alcohol treatment centers, Seasons in Malibu rehab offers a world-class PRIMARY mental health treatment program designed to address your specific disorder and restore you back to your best self.