You only need to walk into a craft store or check your Facebook feed to know it – the holidays are coming. While the months of November and December are often packed full of celebration, food and tradition, the holidays are also a very emotionally vulnerable time for people of any age. We know we are supposed to feel jubilant and join in the festivities of the season, but many of us do not feel that way.

As you look towards the holiday season this year, you may be in a personal season that makes it hard to be joyful. You may also feel like you are the only one who can’t shake a feeling of sadness while everyone else around you seemingly is bright eyed and happy. However, that is not the case.

While the average number of visits to psychiatric facilities decreases during the month of December, it sharply rebounds immediately following the Christmas holiday. This could be in part to people attempting to put on a happy face until they make it through the holidays, only realizing they need extra support after the big day has passed without any relief.

This holiday season, pay close attention to your self-care routines as well as the self-care routines of those close to you. The holiday season, which appears to begin earlier and earlier each year, is at least two months full of extra preparation, stress, emotions, and events. This can be a recipe for depression or anxiety for many, even for those who do not struggle with mental health issues. Taking care of yourself is one of the best strategies you can have to assure that you make it through the holiday season feeling more confident and not beat up. Here are just a few ways that you can take better care of yourself this season (and all year long!):

  • Keep your doctor or counseling appointments
  • Take your prescribed medications
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week or commit to a 15 minute walk every day
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself with a busy schedule; say ‘no’ to some events to give yourself plenty of downtime
  • Resist the urge to isolate yourself completely, keeping your trusted family and friends in the loop with how you are feeling
  • Eat well and drink lots of water
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed, sad, worried or nervous

The holiday season can be an emotionally tricky one; make this the year that you focus on yourself and your own mental health. We are rooting for you and here to support you all year long.

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