Mental health & the holidays. Let’s talk about it.

“The holidays aren’t always special for everyone

and that’s okay.”

The holidays are coming up and a lot of people are looking forward to it! If you’re someone who isn’t, trust us you are NOT alone! The holidays can be a stressful event for many people, especially those who live with mental illness. There is a variety of events that take place around the holidays including shopping for gifts, preparing meals or making plans to see family that are fun and hectic, but maybe you’re someone who is struggling with seeing your family or stressed financially about how to afford gifts. You might be battling your depression and getting out of bed every day. You might have extreme anxiety about being taken out of your daily routine. The holidays aren’t always special for everyone and that’s OKAY.

If you’re someone who has a hard time around the holidays you are not alone. According to an article published by the National Alliance of Mental Illness or (NAMI), a 2020 study revealed that 64% of people with mental illness say that the holidays make their conditions worse. The article states “For many people the holiday season is not always the most wonderful time of the year,” said NAMI medical director Ken Duckworth (in an interview before the pandemic). For individuals and families coping with mental health challenges, the holiday season can be a lonely or stressful time, filled with anxiety and/or depression. If you’re living with a mental health condition, stress can also contribute to worsening symptoms” (NAMI, 2020). Being aware of your mental illness and some of the events that may challenge you can help you ground yourself in times of uncertainty. Here are some tips to help manage the holiday season.

If you’re someone who struggles being around groups of people, large family gatherings can be a hard task to manage. Make it a priority to take breaks for yourself throughout the night and try to center yourself before joining the group again. Three ways to do this can include stepping outside and breathing the cold air, taking a moment alone to pet the family dog, or going for a short walk to get some exercise.

Having depression and attending holiday events can feel like the biggest weight on your shoulders. If you’re someone who struggles daily with depression, finding the motivation to go to an event can be a challenge. Small victories matter! You brushed your teeth and your hair? Amazing! You got dressed today? We’re so proud! Sometimes all you can do is the little things and that is OKAY. Start small and work your way up. Call a friend and make it fun to help pick out your outfit, or take a few hours to yourself to mentally prepare for that big event.

Getting out of a routine for some people can feel like utter chaos. People living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder may know exactly what we’re talking about. Whether you’ve traveled somewhere else, plan on connecting with people you haven’t seen in a long time, or have a hard time coping with new elements to the day. These things can all be stressful. Give yourself credit for things you do out of your daily routine. Figure out small ways to incorporate your specific routine into the day. Examples can include completing your morning routine, having your favorite breakfast or taking the time you usually take for yourself reading, writing or anything else you find joy in.

Holidays can be extremely stressful. For some it can be more of a burden than a celebration. Having a good support system, taking those small steps to ground yourself and managing that stress, can help turn a stressful situation into something you can be proud of for working through and doing your best. One step at a time friends!

If you would like to see a specific topic written about on our blog, please reach out to us via our Social Media Coordinator, Julie Paredes at or DM/Message us on our social media accounts! We would love to take into consideration what readers are interested in! All social media accounts are linked above or you can follow us at on Facebook & on Instagram! Guess what, we’re also on TikTok! You can find our page here ->

Via @crazyheadcomics

Published by MentalHygieneCHQ

The purpose of the Department of Mental Hygiene is to plan, develop, and provide accessible, comprehensive, integrated, outcome-based mental hygiene services of the highest quality to residents of Chautauqua County. We are so excited to share with you all our blog! Our blog will cover topics ranging from mental health, education, tips, inspirational stories, and so on! Give us a follow <3

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