themighty logo

5 Tips to Get Through the Holidays When You Have a Mental Illness


This is time of year for family, friends and loved ones to get together and reflect on the year that has been. While the holiday season is welcomed by many, it can also come with a lot of stress. Here are five tips to get through the holiday season, especially if you have a mental illness:

1. Take space if you need it.

It’s OK to get away from the gathering for a little bit so you can have some quiet time for yourself. It can be difficult and stressful to be around so many people with all of that noise and activity, especially if you have anxiety. Don’t be afraid to take some quiet time alone.

2. Don’t be afraid to indulge, but don’t overdo it.

While it can be tempting to eat all of the amazing food and sweets during the holiday season, don’t over do it. The holidays are typically known as a time to gain weight as many of our holidays are centered around food. It can be stressful for those of us who are trying to lose or maintain weight. By no means am I saying deprive yourself of food or indulging, but simply don’t overdo it.

3. Reach out.

The holidays can be especially hard on those of us who have lost loved ones or have depression or anxiety. They can be hard on anyone, but there are people out there who are more depressed during the holiday season, especially if they have nowhere to go and no one to spend the holidays with. If you have a friend who is spending the holidays alone, invite them to your gathering. It can make all of the difference in the world to them.

4. Be respectful of your limits.

Be respectful of your limits and the limits of those around you. Listen to your body and listen to your thoughts. Don’t push yourself past your limits, as we may end up paying dearly for it later.

5. Don’t go into debt buying presents.

I know everyone loves surprising their loved ones with gifts, especially large, expensive gifts. However, this can only bring a lot stress at the beginning of the new year. As January and February roll around, we begin to feel the pinch in our wallet of all of the money we spent for presents. Be conscious of the purchases you make and set a budget for yourself. Make sure you stick to the budget, too!

While the holidays are a time of joy for many, they can also bring stress to all of us. Keep these things in mind as the holidays approach, and, most importantly, listen to your gut and intuition. You know yourself, your body and your limits better than anyone.

Follow this journey on When Mental and Chronic Illness Collide.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images