5 Tips for Getting Through the Holiday Season With Mental Illness

The holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and feeling loved by the people close to you. Happy families carving their Thanksgiving turkey. Happy friends exchanging presents under an ornamented tree. Happy party goers shouting as they countdown the final seconds of the year.

This standard can be hard for anyone with a mental illness, which is why the holiday season can be one of the most challenging parts of the year to push through. When your friends and family expect smiles and joy, sometimes it just ends up coming out forced.

As we slowly plow through this holiday season, it’s important to remember a few self-help tips:

1. Make time for yourself.

Whether it is early in the morning before everyone is awake or late at night when everyone is asleep, take time just to let your emotions be authentic. Journal how you’re feeling. Watch some of your favorite videos. Do something for you.

2. Step away if you need to.

If you have to be around a ton of family for a while, then don’t be afraid to step out of the crowded room for a bit, even if you go outside for some fresh air.

3. Speaking of fresh air, get some sunshine.

Even if you have to bundle up to leave the house, give your body those lovely vitamins.

4. Build a routine.

When the holidays come around and school is out or you have time off work, everything feels uncertain. So try to build a new routine to follow. Even if it’s simply waking up at the same time every day and reading a book, having some sort of schedule is a nice safety net.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

One of my favorite resources that is easy to contact, even if you’re surrounded by people, is the Crisis Text Line. Text “START” to 741-741 at any time of day to talk to someone who will talk you through what you’re feeling.

No matter what, remember how you feel at your worst is not how you will always feel. I hope you have a genuinely safe and happy holiday season.

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