Navigating mental health during the holidays

For some people, the holidays cause more stress and anxiety, especially for those in recovery or people with mental health issues.

AUSTIN, Texas – When many of us think of the holiday season, we might get excited at the thought of spending time with loved ones or attending holiday gatherings. But for some people, the holidays cause more stress and anxiety, especially for those in recovery or people with mental health issues.

There are a variety of reasons why your vacation might not be as pleasant. It can be a noisy social calendar, deadlines at work, the loss of a loved one, sunless winter days, or all of the above.

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, people say their stress increases during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse.

Experts say mental health is just as important as physical health exams. It should be treated like anything else you seek help for when it comes to you and your body.

Experts say it’s okay to accept these feelings of sadness and stress.
Once you do, it will be easier to process.

“There is something very powerful that happens when we name our feelings,” said Dr. Bess Amadi, a mental health specialist and professor. “When we acknowledge what we’re going through, it unlocks a part of the brain that starts to transition into a healthy problem-solving state.”

There are ways we can prepare ourselves and hopefully avoid some of the holiday stress build-up. It is important to realize that we have more control than we think. However, it is equally important to realize that even if we put these ideas into practice and continue to feel overwhelmed or depressed, professional help is available.

KVUE has listed mental health resources for anyone seeking help:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free 24/7 lifeline for individuals experiencing emotional distress or crisis. Call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with a trained listener.
  • Crisis text line: MHA text 741-741
    Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential text message support to individuals experiencing emotional distress or crisis. It is available 24/7. Text “MHA” to 741-741 for support.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
    SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7/365 treatment information and referral service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
    For more information, click here.

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