The holidays are seen as a joyous or happy time for many, but that’s not the case for everyone. Many experience stress, anxiety, depression or some sort of holiday blues.
Andree Miceli, clinical Director of Behavioral Health, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, “When we do feel down, we may question, ‘What’s wrong with me?' But that’s a natural feeling. There’s nothing wrong, per se.”
Miceli says everyone experiences some stress and anxiety and what many call holiday blues this time of year.
She says, “First and foremost we have to put ourselves first. I think women, especially, have the propensity to take care of everybody else before themselves and start to feel overwhelmed and sometimes even resentful.”
She says it’s the same idea as when parents are instructed on a plane to put their oxygen mask on first.
“We have to take care of ourselves first so that we can be better equipped and physically and mentally ready to tackle the holidays.”
Miceli also recommends keeping a schedule and consistency in your routine.
“Keeping that routine will give us some sort of control over the situations and ultimately over our emotions, too.”
And don’t forget to plan some alone time.
“I like to call them mini-vacations. You go to a quiet place and shut your eyes and pretend you’re on a beach and somewhere tropical and just rest and rejuvenate and that can really do a lot to our brains and enhance our mood,” says Miceli.
And if you don’t feel safe yet in large gatherings this season, you don’t have to attend.
“Don’t set yourself up for increasing that anxiety by putting yourself in a situation you know could make you feel awkward.”
Remember – you are in charge of your own actions.
“It’s up to us to be in control of what we do and how we think and how we respond to a situation,” says Miceli.
And when it comes to loneliness during the holidays, Miceli says volunteering in your community could be a way to start a new tradition that may help you celebrate the season.
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