Iowa Specialty Hospital

Coping with the Stress of the Holidays

November 30, 2018

For many people, Christmas and the holiday season are a happy and joyous time. But for some, the holidays can be very stressful and bring on symptoms of depression and anxiety, or increase symptoms that people are already struggling with. In a study conducted by NAMI, nearly 64% of people with a mental illness reported the holidays make their conditions worse.

So what can we do to make the holidays less stressful? First and foremost, pace yourself. Don’t take on more responsibilities than you can handle. Let others help take on responsibilities and cut out things that aren’t truly important. If loneliness and isolation are a problem for you during the holidays, plan to pick up a winter hobby. Check in to what is going on in your community and let friends and family know that this can be a hard time for you.

The holidays can also be a reminder of the loss of a loved one. To help navigate this, first acknowledge that the holiday season will not be the same. Make sure to surround yourself with people who understand what you are experiencing and are supportive of you. You could also start new traditions in honor of your loved one.

Other helpful tips include: Sticking to normal routines as much as possible, getting enough sleep, getting exercise, taking time for yourself, listening to music, or finding other ways to relax. And last but not least, reach out for help, whether it is from a loved one or from professionals. Supporting one another is what the holiday season is all about!

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