The traditional holiday season can be full of joy, but also sorrow and heartache. Even for those who do not struggle with mental illnesses, there are many reasons that could cause this time of year to be difficult.
As I mentioned last week, we had the opportunity to spend some time with our IT department on mental health and wellness. A number of people asked for the slides, and I sent a PDF out right before Thanksgiving. I had the thought that this was a perfect chance to remind everyone about some of the struggles that the holidays can bring.
I discussed with my therapist this week some anxiety around the family time. She told me that this is a common time for everyone to have an increase in anxiety, especially those who struggle with their mental health. It is important to plan ahead and have some strategies for self-care.
As I drafted my email, I found a great article on the NAMI.org blog:
Many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season. People who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care to tend to their overall health and wellness during this time.
Extra stress, unrealistic expectations or even sentimental memories that accompany the season can be a catalyst for the holiday blues. Some can be at risk for feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and a sense of loss.
Whatever your mental state, or that of those around you, this time of year is a great time for extra compassion and sensitivity. Not everyone loves to celebrate the holidays, but we all could use someone who cares for us.