The holiday season can be a challenging time for our mental health, especially as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse, according to a study by NAMI. Here are some expert tips to maintaining your mental health during the holiday season, and helping your loved ones do the same:
- “Reach out” – Mayo Clinic
The holiday season can feel isolating. This has been further exacerbated by the pandemic, which has brought restrictions on travel and social gatherings, a desire to protect the immunocompromised, and, of course, the loss of many loved ones. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your community, religious leaders, or medical professionals if you are in need of company or support.
- “Say no if you feel overwhelmed” – Mental Health America
From parties to dinners and family gatherings, there is a lot to schedule between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Navigating complicated calendars can be almost as taxing as the events themselves. While it can feel hard to say no to something festive, it is always an acceptable way to RSVP.
- “Look for signs that your loved one is struggling” – Cedars-Sinai
Not everyone is able to vocalize the ways in which they are struggling, so it is important to be able to recognize the signals that they are giving. For example, does your loved one seem to be more withdrawn than usual? Do they typically respond quickly to a text or phone call, but now they are not responding at all? Any change in behavior could be an indication of a larger issue.
- “Be realistic” – NAMI
Between advertisements and social media, we are often flooded with unrealistic expectations of what a happy holiday should look like. It is important to remember that people are sharing only a snapshot of their experience, finding the perfect gift is not as easy as it sounds, and not everyone is having fun at the party.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health at any point during the year, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional assistance.
This blog was written by Amairy E. Plaud López, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, Government Programs at Abarca.