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Holiday Depression and Anxiety: Why It Happens, How to Mitigate It, and What To Do

The holidays can bring about a lot of anxiety, stress, and depression. You might even try to avoid these feelings by suppressing them. However, doing so could perpetuate negative thoughts and behaviors. It is important to manage your emotions properly. Let’s look at some ways to help you healthily deal with holiday stressors.

The Link Between Stress and the Holidays

Many factors can affect your mental health, such as financial stress, family responsibilities, and increased social demand. As you can imagine, there are many links between addiction and anxiety. Some of these links are more indirect, while others are direct.

Stress is one of the biggest causes of relapse. Individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders tend to become more prone to using substances to manage stress. For example, social events like Christmas parties or family gatherings can trigger your impulse to use. Substances, such as alcohol, act as a sedative for the nervous system and reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shaking hands, sweating palms, and nausea. However, this is not a viable nor sustainable solution to manage anxiety.

Common Holiday Triggers

You may encounter many triggers during the holiday season. These triggers could relate to religious practices, expectations from society, and family traditions. However, it is imperative if you struggle with a substance use disorder to maintain recovery, and knowing your triggers will help.

Some of the common triggers include:

  • Change of Routine: Routines help sustain recovery. During the holiday season, you might experience a disruption in your routine. In many ways, the holiday season could show up as a significant change in your life, especially in early recovery. Take certain precautions to deal with changes in your habits, like attending more recovery group meetings.
  • Social Events: There are many social gatherings during the holiday season. You may experience pressure to join your peers by drinking or using during these gatherings. Or, you may find the whole experience stressful, especially if you struggle with social anxiety. Being around so many people may trigger you to find a chemical sedative to relieve stress. Therefore, try to attend events that put your recovery needs first. Many recovery groups hold sober parties during the holiday season.
  • Family Stress: Family stress develops from many things outside your control. However, you can minimize stress by keeping your holiday expectations simple. Focus on enjoying the company of your family and the blessing of your recovery.

8 Effective Ways to Deal With Holiday Depression and Anxiety

Creating a plan for this holiday season will help. such plans should include self-care practices to help you manage holiday stress or depression.

#1. Plan. Planning will help you stay on track with your goals and allow you to deal with stress in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you. Try planning out your breaks, doctor visits, exercise plans, or anything else to help you prioritize what needs to happen so that you can stay healthy during this time of year.

#2. Find your happy place. Every person has their unique way of dealing with depression and anxiety, but some people find that certain areas make them feel better. Try to think about the last time you had an excellent feeling of happiness or satisfaction, and find ways to recreate those feelings.

#3. Meditate. Meditation is a great way to relax and relieve stress. The best part is, you can meditate anywhere. You can utilize an app or a comfortable space such as your bedroom and create an atmosphere conducive to self-care and comfort.

#4. Take a break from social media. You’re likely to get bombarded with posts, ads, and other content that might make you feel guilty or ashamed. Comparing yourself to others on social media is not helpful for your recovery. Instead, take a break from social media.

#5. Spend time with family or friends. Sometimes, spending time with the people who care about you the most can help you forget about all of your worries. Focus on positive interactions with loved ones rather than worrying about problems.

#6. Exercise. Exercise lowers stress levels by releasing endorphins which will help you feel better emotionally and physically. It will also help you sleep better at night.

#7. Eat well. Eating well helps keep your stress levels down by providing the necessary nutrients to stay healthy and strong during the holidays.

#8. Allow yourself to experience emotions: Let your emotions flow through you. Laugh if you’d like, or cry if you feel the urge to cry. Share how you feel with loved ones that you trust. Doing so will help you release some of the stress and realize that you are not alone in how you feel.

Besides these suggestions, consider going to a treatment center like Clearfork Academy. We offer inpatient and intensive outpatient care to ensure that you get the care you need.

Many factors affect mental health, such as financial stress, family responsibilities, and increased social demand. Since the holidays involve many social events, many teens find it very stressful, especially if they struggle with social anxiety. At Clearfork Academy, we offer professional support to help your teen manage anxiety, stress, and depression. If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, we also provide appropriate resources to support them. Our programs work with both parents and teens to help them understand addiction and how it affects the whole family. With us, your teen will learn effective ways to express emotions and develop the self-confidence and self-assurance necessary to manage the challenges of maintaining sobriety and managing emotions. Our goal is to create better communication within the family dynamic. If you or a loved one currently needs help, then the time to act is now. Find out more about our programs and contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (817) 259-2597.

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