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5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Well-Being During the Holidays

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If you’re one of the 16.1 million adults who suffer from depression, the holidays may bring on additional anxieties and stress that could trigger your depression.

According to experts at Via Christi when stress is at its peak, the best thing you can do is stop and regroup to prevent stress or a depressive cycle from taking away from your holiday.

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression:

1. Acknowledge your feelings – The holidays bring on a variety of feelings – not all of which are joyful. If you recently experienced a loss, remind yourself it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s okay to cry and express your feelings as such expressions can often bring a sense of relief.

2. Ask for help – If you feel lonely or isolated, ask for help from family, friends, or members of your community. Lean on your support groups for support, companionship and reminders that you are not alone.

3. Be mindful of alcohol consumption – While alcohol often takes center stage at holiday parties, remind yourself that you do not have to drink alcohol at every event. Alcohol feels like it reduces stress at the time, but it’s a depressant that impairs and slows your physical and psychological activity.

4. Manage your expectations – Between social media and holiday movies on repeat, the pressure to create ‘picture-perfect’ holidays can lead to anxiety, stress and even depression. Before celebrations begin, choose a few things that matter most to you during the holidays – like enjoying an intimate dinner with loved ones – and focus your energy on those things instead trying to juggle too much at once.

5. Take time for yourself – Spending just 15 to 20 minutes alone, without distractions, can relax your mind and help you feel more focused to tackle your holiday to-do list. Walking outside for fresh air, listening to soothing music or a guided meditation, reading a book, or practicing yoga, are all great ways to reduce stress and clear your mind.

To speak with a Via Christi behavioral health professional, about triggers of mood disorders, signs and symptoms of depression during the holidays and treatment options, we can help you find the care you need, when and where you need it.

About Michelle Kennedy

Michelle Kennedy is the Senior Marketing Specialist for Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg and Wamego Health Center. She is a proud wife and mom and loves cooking, camping and spending time outdoors, her dogs and reading.