While many love the holidays and look forward to them, it can be a tough and lonely time for many as well. For many who have mental health issues or suffer from addiction, the holidays can be especially difficult to get through, but there are indeed ways to combat these feelings and not get stuck in a holiday funk.
For people who are trying to maintain their sobriety and are trying to stay mentally healthy, there are definitely ways to stay sober and well during the holidays, and here are some things to keep in mind…
Staying Safe and Mentally Well During the Holidays
The holidays are a stressful time. Being with family can be tough for a lot of people, and there are many other stressors to deal with including shopping for gifts, travel, cooking big meals, and so on.
One of the most important and obvious steps many should take during the holidays is reaching out to someone you trust. Talk to family that you know you trust. Reach out to friends on social media. Find a support group. Hook up with a therapist.
In listing how to beat holiday depression, Forbes reminds us that many can suffer from SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. When the world goes through daylight savings time, and the days grow shorter, it can greatly affect people’s moods.
Therapy and medication are recommended for SAD, but light therapy is also recommended as well. With light therapy, you spend time around artificial light that replaces the sunlight from the spring and summer you’re missing and feel much better.
As Forbes points out, some people may think they’re just stressed out from the holidays, but they could indeed be suffering from depression. It’s important to determine if your depression is a long-term symptom, or if you’re just feeling holiday blahs. However you feel, don’t be afraid to reach out for help, and don’t ignore it, hoping it will go away.
It’s Okay To Spend the Holiday With Friends and Surrogate Family
Some people feel odd defying tradition by spending the holidays with friends instead of their families, but this is more common than you’d think. Some people don’t have healthy families to be around, and some people have lost important members of their families, so during holidays, the important thing is being around people you love. As Redbook mentions, there are even terms for spending the holidays with close friends like Friendsgiving, Friendsmas, and Frienukkah.
Staying Active and Recharging During the Holidays
Even though it’s the holidays, Redbook reminds us it’s important to stay active, even when you’re enjoying time off. Even if you want to take some time away from the gym, it’s important just to get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and get some vitamins from the sunlight into your skin. As this article explains, “SAD can be mitigated by exposure to sunlight, so try to get a little bit every day. Even sitting by your window can do wonders if you can’t bear the frigid temperatures.”
And while it’s important not to overeat, Redbook also recommends having some comfort foods when you want to treat yourself. This is where good friends can come in and help, you can share naughty foods together and make sure you don’t eat too much of them.
One last recommendation from Redbook that would benefit all of us greatly is volunteering and helping people out that are less fortunate. There are many people in the world who are having an even worse time than you are doing the holidays, and being there for them can put a lot in perspective.