6 Things for People With Mental Illness to Keep in Mind This Holiday Season

The holidays can be scary for anyone struggling with mental illness. Every year during the holidays, I seem to have a manic episode. My anxiety keeps me from a lot of public places, and my depressive episode makes me question if I should even put any effort into the holidays when I’m barely hanging on. So, here is a list of six things to keep in mind during this holiday season.

1. Don’t stress.

I know this is hard, and trust me, I understand. The best thing can be to focus on staying relaxed; the moment you stress you may panic. Try to keep yourself organized as best you can. This can help to eliminate unnecessary stress. When I experience a lot of stress, I find I am thrown off balance. If you experience a lot of stress, remember to take time to unwind as much as you can.

2. Give yourself a break.

Please remember not to be too hard on yourself. You are amazing for dealing with your challenges, so don’t beat yourself up over things. Remember to breathe.

3. Always have someone who is supportive and understanding.

It is always good to have someone with you who understands how much your mental illness can impact your daily life and the holidays can be very stressful. I feel having someone who you can call when you need them is essential and can give a sense of security.

4. Only take on as much as you can handle.

Don’t feel the need to take on the responsibility of hosting a party and cooking the meal. If your family and friends are understanding, then it shouldn’t be a problem to split up responsibilities or parts of the meal.

5. Try mindfulness meditation

Trust me, it can help! I recommend the “Calm” app for mindfulness meditation. Remember to take a deep breath now and again. This can be the most important tool of all. It can help you to stay calm even when it feels like the world is going too fast. I use this when I am having extreme anxiety or when I’m having trouble sleeping. It helps to tune into your body and feel where you are holding tension. It can help you to relax and get into a calmer state of mind.

6. Do what is best for yourself.

If you do not feel well enough to attend a party, don’t sweat it. Your health matters the most, and you need to focus on yourself. If staying home curled up on the couch with a blanket watching TV is what you feel like doing, then do it. Don’t push yourself. Listen to your body — it knows best.

Remember to take care of yourself this holiday season, because your health matters!

Image via Thinkstock.

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

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Mental Health

Tim Gunn from 'Project Runway'

When Tim Gunn Described a Dress as ‘Schizophrenic' on 'Project Runway’

I was sitting in my apartment watching an episode of “Project Runway,” titled “Bold Innovation,” (which aired December 1, 2016) when I heard Tim Gunn say something that made me cringe, and made my roommate laugh. “If we look at the front of the dress and extrapolate what the back may look like, it’s going [...]
Making list of presents on wood background, copy space

8 Things on My Christmas 'Wish List ‘ as Someone With a Mental Illness

As a human, I have many material things I would like for Christmas, but as a person who lives with mental illness, I have a separate wish list money just cannot buy. 1. To end the stigma of mental illness. I live my life openly as a person with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder [...]
Three men looking at gifts on a table.

NAMI Shelby County Gives Christmas Gifts to Those Living With Mental Illnesses

Every holiday season for the past seven years, the Shelby County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) puts together a holiday celebration for those living with severe mental illnesses. As part of the festivities, each participant gets a home-cooked meal and individual stockings filled with gifts. This year there will more than 130 stockings, with [...]
group of men sitting at a bar

The Different Reactions I Get When I Tell People About My Mental Health

I have anxiety and depression. I can openly admit it to myself, but it’s sad that I feel scared telling other people about it. I don’t usually come out with it straight away. I have to be willing and ready, but I do often feel the need to tell people I’m close to — just [...]