According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people surveyed said their stress increases during the holiday season, and 64% of individuals with existing mental illness feel that their conditions worsen around the holidays.
The lack of time, financial pressure, family gatherings, pressure to be social, and expectation to act cheerful can weigh heavily on those with mental health conditions or those who are dealing with difficult life events or other hardships.
If the holidays are not a pleasant time for you, there are a few things you should know before the holidays hit:
1. Holiday Cheer is Not a Requirement
You don’t need to force yourself to be happy. It’s okay to acknowledge that you aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. If family gatherings are stressful, limit how many celebrations you attend and spend time with the people who understand you and what you’re going through the best—these people aren’t always family.
2. Grief and Loss Don’t Pause for the Holidays
If you are currently experiencing grief and loss, it may be difficult not to compare your situation to that of others, especially as you watch others enjoy holiday celebrations or post on social media. Remember that your feelings of grief are valid, and as time passes, you too will be able to enjoy holiday traditions and festivities in the years to come. It’s okay if you let this year slide. If old traditions remind you of past trauma, there’s nothing wrong with starting over and building new ones.
3. Don’t Overbook Yourself
In the midst of shopping for gifts, cooking, and all of the other chores it can take to prepare for the holidays, be sure to set aside time for yourself. You don’t have to say yes to every party invitation or friend that wants to visit.
Tools to Thrive
Mental illness isn’t limited to words like “depression” or “anxiety.” There are many mental illnesses that create significant daily obstacles, and it’s more common than you think. In fact, mental illness is more prevalent than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Even if your mental health is where it should be, you may have loved ones who are struggling. Do your best to accept your own limitations as well as those of others.
At times it may be hard to find a timely appointment with mental health providers. If this is the case, you can use your group’s selected Telemedicine provider (displayed in your member portal). You can call MotivHealth for further details at 844-234-4472.
Getting Immediate Care
If it is an emergency, please call 911 or visit the emergency room.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the suicide hotline at 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.