Updated: Mar 8, 2021
If you live with a mental health condition, you may have an especially difficult time with the uncertainty and the change of plans this year.
For many people, the holiday season will look different this year. Often, the last few months of the year are busy with parties and visiting family and friends. But due to COVID-19, things like traveling and gathering in large groups may not be possible.
Many people have lost loved ones and will be missing someone’s presence during the festivities, and even more have lost their jobs and are dealing with financial stress. Others, like healthcare workers, may be working overtime and unable to take as much time off around the holidays as they usually can. It can be hard to cope with these kinds of changes, especially if certain holidays are the only time you see some of your loved ones.
If you live with a mental health condition, you may have an especially difficult time with the uncertainty and the change of plans this year. Many people with mental health conditions find consistency important in their recovery, especially during times of high stress - like both the pandemic and the holiday season. A sudden shift in tradition may have you feeling an extreme loss of control on top of disappointment.
Change is difficult for most people, especially when you didn’t ask for or even expect these changes. But that doesn’t mean that the holidays are destined to be a disappointment this year. There are plenty of ways to cope with the tough feelings you’re having while still enjoying the holidays.
Take care of yourself
Being away from family and friends during the holidays can be hard.
When you talk with your friends and family about plans, it’s okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others.
Doing what’s best for you includes eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep.
Take care of your body and stay active to lessen fatigue, anxiety, and sadness.
Spend time with those in your household
Hard choices to be apart this year may mean that you can spend many more years with your loved ones.
Do what is best for your health and the health of your loved ones. This year spend time with those in your own household.
Gratitude is a major focus this time of year, and while it may seem harder to find things to appreciate, there is still plenty to be thankful for. Make a conscious effort to regularly identify some things that you’re grateful for. It can be something as broad as your health, or something as specific as your favorite song playing on the radio the last time you got in the car. Change is hard, but it isn’t always bad. There are still ways to celebrate the season with your loved ones, even if you must give up some of your favorite traditions. Find creative ways to adapt. Or start new traditions – they may even add more meaning to your holiday season.
If you’re still finding yourself sad, hopeless, or unable to enjoy the holidays this year, you may be struggling with a mental health condition. Take an online screen: https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools?ref=Covid
to determine if what you’re feeling is a sign of something like depression or anxiety rather than holiday stress.
Please note: Online screening tools are meant to be a quick snapshot of your mental health. If your results indicate you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, consider sharing your results with someone. A mental health provider (such as a doctor or a therapist) can give you a full assessment and talk to you about options for how to feel better.
If you provide us your information and are in need of support, we will do our best to respond. However, we are not a crisis support line. If you are in need of immediate assistance, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK