Mental health experts from Raleigh, NC, understand the dangers of allowing holiday related stress to get the better of people during these yearly events. It is important for parents, teachers and others to learn how to spot trouble signs in themselves, their children, their students or senior family members. This helps prevent the pitfalls of these otherwise fun and festive times.
Monitor Stress Levels During the Holiday Season
Even though the holiday season in winter is usually a happy and fun time to spend with your family and friends, it is important to monitor the holiday related stress levels to avoid dangerous mental health situations especially in vulnerable individuals.
Signs of Mental or Emotional Health Distress
Parents and others concerned about the increased stress that commonly comes with holiday and family celebrations should know the signs of mental and/or emotional health distress. These include:
- Withdrawn behaviors
- Crying or other sadness indicators
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Daytime fatigue & nighttime insomnia
- Change in normal behaviors like neglecting grooming, sleeping during the day or loss of mental focus
- Paranoid behavior or intense fear responses
- Failing grades or problems at work
- Exhibiting stress escape behaviors like taking illegal drugs, drinking more alcohol or engaging in risky behaviors
- More body pain, increased headaches and frequent illnesses
- Seems lonely
- How Holiday Stress Can Lead To Depression & Illness
When most people think about traditional holidays and family fun get-together occasions, they usually do not think about how this added stress can lead to mental health crises, depression and even physical ailments and illnesses.
The holiday season is a time when mental health professionals and treatment facilities see an increase in stress related mental health issues that often includes depression.
For now, the jury is still out on whether more suicides occur during the holiday season in the winter. Most mental health professionals feel that the period after the holidays is generally the time when mental health issues arise. This is thought to be a reaction of the letdown feelings that might linger after the guests go home and the person is then faced with everyday life again.
Why Some People Feel Sad During Holidays or Special Events
Reputable mental health specialists do caution that many people can feel sad during special family or personal anniversary dates, holiday celebrations and at specific emotionally charged dates that trigger past feelings and memories.
If there has been a death of someone special that happened near the date or if the holiday is the first one experienced after a loved one has passed away, the resulting emotional turmoil can become too great to handle without professional help.
Elders often feel down and sad during previously enjoyable holidays and special occasions if they live far from family and old friends. Mental health professionals advise people to check in with their older neighbors, senior family members and those that have lost someone relatively recently.
Useful Mental Health Tips for Dealing with Holiday Stress
A Raleigh psychiatric practice has plenty of useful mental health tips. Also, strategies for managing holiday stress and holiday-related depression. These tips include:
- Eat a healthy & balanced diet – indulge but don’t overdo it
- Get plenty of shut-eye
- Have healthy ways to reduce stress – sports, fitness or music therapy
- Keep things simpler
- Plan ahead to avoid last-minute rush for holiday preparation supplies
- Get regular exercise – or take a leisurely walk to unwind and lessen stress
- Delegate holiday tasks to others so no one person is responsible for everything
- Practice mindfulness to lower heightened anxieties
- Check on vulnerable people
- Make new holiday memories
- Stick to budget
What To Do If Alone for the Holidays
The wonderful memories of holidays spent with beloved family members and dear friends are something that should be cherished and remembered for years. However, mental health experts caution that these very memories can trigger underlying anxieties, feelings of sadness and lingering guilt, anger or fear that can overwhelm the person.
There are times when individuals find themselves alone during a holiday or other special event. Instead of sitting around feeling lonely and miserable, take a chance on making this season joyful again.
Invite neighbors over for coffee and cookies. Attend a church service, meetup with friends for lunch and shopping. Also, volunteer at a local nursing home, domestic abuse shelter, nearby children’s hospital or animal shelter.
Contact MedPsych Integrated at 919-582-7272 to assist you in Managing Holiday Related Stress