It’s not always joy and cheer; holiday stress is real, and it affects millions of Americans each year. It’s been a difficult last few years for many people, and while the holidays can be a pleasant reprieve for some, they can be a struggle for others.
For people who need consistency, holiday stress can make it difficult to retain concrete schedules and stick to healthy routines. Holiday indulgences can trigger eating disorders and make it harder to stop relapses. Holiday stress – whether financial or personal – can strain relationships, increase anxieties, or aggravate volatile personalities.
While a time for generosity and family reunions, the holidays also correlate with greater rates of domestic violence and suicidality. And for those who find themselves alone over the holidays, the feelings of isolation and loneliness can be especially hard to bear.
Support – through peers, friends, relatives, and the community – is what we all need more of. But it isn’t always enough. Our families, our friends, and our loved ones can see us through thick and thin, but there are times when a concrete treatment plan and a residential setting are necessary for a safe holiday season. Don’t wait for the new year; you deserve the help you need.
Residential Treatment Over the Holidays
A residential treatment program provides a safe space for you to seek immediate help. If you feel unsafe over the holidays – or if you feel in danger of a depressive episode, mounting anxieties, or serious relapse – then contacting a residential treatment facility to initiate a short-term stay can help you maintain and protect your mental health, work on healthy frameworks for continued stress management and mental resilience over the holidays, help you meet other people in the community through group treatment, and transition into building long-term support systems through your close friends and loved ones.
If you find yourself struggling with feelings of loneliness and depression as the holidays draw near, look out for local support groups, group therapy sessions, and local mental health communities. Having others to talk to and spend time with is crucial, and as ironic as it might seem, you are far from alone.
The holidays can be a tough time for many; but just as there is an influx in people reporting feelings of desperation, many people also come together to spend more time with one another, help strangers through group support, and share their experiences.
Learn More About Mental Health Together
The holidays can be a perfect opportunity for friends and family to come together and learn better ways to act as a crucial support system for their loved ones.
A lot of people keep their friends and family at arm’s length when it comes to their mental health – while many realize the importance of talking to their family about their feelings, or discussing depression, there’s often a sense that being too open about ongoing issues, recurring symptoms, or ramping episodes can feel like a burden, and that some friends and family members simply can’t relate – and thus, can’t do much to help – when symptoms of anxiety or depression grow in relation to ongoing stressors.
There’s also the fear of feeling like you’re just repeating yourself, or the anxiety that things are never getting better, making it harder to acknowledge the bad days, and impossible to focus on the good.
These feelings can grow over the holidays, when the topics of mental health – especially mental disorders and symptoms of illness – feel like “unnecessary downers”. Don’t let that keep you from getting the care, love, and support that you need.
Family therapy programs – regardless of whom you define as your family – can be a great way to help dispel these thoughts and help people with mental health issues get closer to their loved ones, while helping your closest loved ones develop a better and more nuanced understanding of what you are going through, and how their own actions, words, and behaviors can negatively or positively impact you.
Residential treatment can provide you with a safe space to focus on overcoming stressors and healing over the holidays. But it’s also a stepping stone towards continuing to lead a better quality of life outside of treatment. Part of that means incorporating those closest to you into your day-to-day recovery, meeting other people with similar life experiences, and developing your own support system.
It’s Okay to Ask For Help
If the holidays are getting to you, the last thing you should do is ignore your negative thoughts and feelings. The holidays are defined by gratitude, volunteerism, and making it through the darkest season as a group, through song, laughter, and generosity.
It’s important to focus on the good and cultivate feelings of gratitude and joy – but when your coping mechanisms begin to break down, it’s also important to recognize when help is needed, and know that it isn’t wise to delay it. Continuing therapy, signing onto an outpatient program, or considering residential treatment under difficult circumstances can help ensure that you will live to enjoy many more holidays to come.
You don’t need a history with mental health problems or a diagnosis of depression or anxiety to struggle during the holiday season, especially if it’s been a rough year for you. Maybe you lost a loved one, or moved away from home, or won’t get to see your partner this year. Whatever it might be, seeking support – whether through friends, therapy, or both – is always an option, and one you should never lose sight of.
It’s more than just a reason to go out and find like-minded people to interact with. Residential treatment programs, community support groups, and local mental health organizations can lead to long-term friendships and stronger relationships with countless people who might have shared experiences with you, and a unique outlook on life with mental health issues. Let’s huddle together to overcome our hardships this year – and start out the new year with a new stride. Reach out and get it touch today.