Despite the joy of the Christmas season, many people experience mental health problems that often get overlooked or pushed aside. The holiday season brings with it a lot of stress due to full calendars and keeping up with obligations and expectations. And although many people get to spend Christmas with their families and friends, Christmas is a lonely time for many. It is important to know how to take care of yourself during the Christmas season so that you can enjoy the time and avoid the stress.
There is typically not enough discussion about mental health during the year, but it seems to be especially overlooked during the holidays. Many people experience seasonal affectiveness disorder during the winter time, which causes depression and anxiety on top of the stress many people already feel during the holidays. And these feelings can be amplified by the contrasting festivity of the Christmas season.
There is a stigma around mental health and mental health treatment that often prevents people from reaching out if they need help with the problems they are experiencing. People are especially reluctant to reach out during the holidays because they feel that the people close to them are too busy with Christmas planning and festivities.
However, it is important that you and the people close to you know that it’s okay to reach out for help when the holiday business, stress, or general feelings of sadness and loneliness become too much. It’s also important to talk to a doctor if any part of your mental health interferes with your usual life activities.
Baking Christmas cookies, shopping for presents, and attending parties are all exciting parts of Christmas time, but the fuller your calendar becomes, the less time you have to rest and enjoy the season. Make sure you allow yourself to say no now and then. You don’t have to attend every party or bake enough cookies for every school or work get-together. Prioritize your health and rest – your body and mind will thank you.
Christmas is a time for re-connection with loved ones, whether that’s through Christmas cards or family gatherings. This Christmas, instead of simply exchanging small talk with family and friends, don’t be afraid to ask – and listen to – how they are really doing. Let the people close to you know that they can talk to you if they are ever feeling depressed or lonely, and make sure that you have people you can talk to as well.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. And often, neglecting your mental health can lead to other issues like heart problems or sleep issues. It is important to make your mental health a priority during the holidays – take time for yourself and reach out to those around you.
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