According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people surveyed reported an increase in stress during the holidays which may result in physical illness, anxiety, depression, and substance use. Common reasons for increased stress during this time may be lack of time, financial pressure, setting unrealistic expectations, gift giving, and family gatherings. Sixty four percent of individuals already living with a diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety reported a worsening of their symptoms according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.
Caring for your mental health and emotional well-being should always be a priority, but this becomes even more important when heading into a more stressful time of year. Having some strategies and interventions ready can be very helpful in keeping your mood under control. Below are some examples:
Make time for yourself: It is OK to take a step back and engage in an activity you enjoy: reading, listening to music, taking a walk, catching up on your favorite show, etc.
Set a spending limit on gifts: To ease financial stress give yourself a realistic budget for buying gifts and stick to it.
Maintain your sleep, eating, and exercise habits: Proper nutrition and sleep are extremely important for mood regulation and exercise is a great stress reliever.
These are just a few ways to decrease stress and anxiety. Have you considered talking to a someone who can guide you and help you navigate some of these stressful situations? Sometimes talking through stressors can be beneficial and a counselor can provide the support necessary.