Mental Health and the Holidays
It is that time of year. The trees are going up, the streets are lit up with bright lights and everyone is out buying gifts for one-another. Typically, the holidays mean getting together with family, celebrating whatever holiday is engraved as tradition. It can mean sitting around the Christmas tree with family while watching ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, or celebrating the days of Hanukkah. Regardless, the holidays may be considered “the most wonderful time of the year” for some, but for others, not so much. They are a hard time for many people, maybe even for you. If you’re struggling this holiday season, this is your reminder that you are not alone. Not only do millions of people worldwide suffer from holiday depression, but now with COVID-19 and the global pandemic, thousands of people are dreading the season.
With the holidays comes a great amount of stress, which within itself can trigger someone’s depression and/or anxiety. I don’t know about you, but I feel this intense amount of pressure to feel merry and cheery this time of year, and for me, that is because I struggle with a depressive disorder, and being happy is often not possible for me. For others, however, it could be a challenge because of financial stability, loneliness, grief, family conflict, or even just the stress of trying to please everyone. I know personally that I am a people pleaser. With my first paycheque, I spent over $500.00 on my family’s gifts. I only work part time and am saving to go to school for a PhD in biomedical engineering; money is something I need to be wise with, but I just want to make my family feel good.
Luckily, for all stress-inducers, there are steps you can take to prevent and/or reduce them, even for ones like these. If financial stability is a stressor for you, a great thing to do would be to divide up your shopping into small trips and set a budget for each person you are shopping for. A great budget to set would be between $10-40. You could make something that comes from the heart, like a written letter. I know my mother is a sucker for homemade gifts, and remember: Materialism is not everything.
On the other hand, if loneliness, grief or family conflict are impacting you negatively, there are amazing online resources that are available. I will put them at the end of the article. Remember that you are NOT alone. We, as Teenagers with Experience, are always here to guide you, provide you with resources, and/or be a friend. The suicide rates for the holiday season are significantly higher than the rest of the year, and because of that, we are encouraging you to reach out. If not to your family and/or friends, if not to a resource, then at least to us.
We are a family, and life is precious.
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