Many of us look forward to the holiday season with a sense of joyous anticipation. For some this time of year feels merry and bright but can be associated with a wave of negative emotion.
Those who experience existing mood disorders or mental health conditions may feel especially vulnerable during the holidays. To create healthy mental wellness, Baptist Health Richmond Behavioral Health Clinic can provide resources and support to help recognize factors that may affect our mental wellness. Examples of circumstances that can affect our mental wellness during the holidays are:
- Seasonal Sensations – In the winter, we are exposed to less natural sunlight and holiday celebrations can make us experience changes in our diet and nutrition.
- Holiday Environments – At holiday events we may see other people we are far removed or estranged from such as extended family and friends. If there is unresolved trauma at these social gatherings, they may make a person feel overwhelmed or lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic or feeling unsafe.
- Grief, Loss and Feeling Lonely – Holidays may serve as a painful reminder of those we have lost. The loss of a loved one feels especially strong when a shared memory, such as a holiday tradition carries on in their absence.
- Increased Financial Burden – In some cultures, society has created associations between holidays and spending. If a family participates in gift-giving, hosting parties, charitable donations and traveling for gathering, financial strain is definitely a possibility.
- Unrealistic Expectations and Cultural Demand – Holiday time leads to packed calendars with office parties, social events, family gatherings, and school performances. These events compete in your limited schedule with your personal routines and self-care. Society norms pressure us to achieve the illusion of experiencing “The Perfect Holiday” in an already image-driven “hustle” culture.
One could experience any or all of the above factors. Each can contribute to our emotional and mental wellness at any time. How do we ground ourselves to stay focused on what truly matters: our joy and wellness? How can we better manage our own mental health and support our loved ones during this time of year?
There is no one clean-cut solution, but there are some very healthy considerations including self-care, mindfulness, therapy, setting healthy boundaries, find meaning and joy and be realistic, patient and compassionate towards others and yourself.
To learn more about how to create healthy mental wellness or to schedule an appointment at Baptist Health Behavioral Health Clinic, call 859.544.8171.