It’s natural to experience some level of stress, anxiety and even sadness around the holiday season. This Thanksgiving-through-January period is one of the busiest times of the year and brings unique challenges for everybody.
For individuals and the loved ones of individuals who have a mood disorder (also known as a mental health disorder) though, these last few months of the year can be very challenging.
The two most common mood disorders are depression and bipolar disorder, both of which can become exacerbated around the holiday season without knowing how to handle them.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the top causes of depression and bipolar during the holidays, as well as share three of the best science-backed ways to support yourself or a loved one during this time of year.
Causes of mood disorders
The National Alliance on Mental Illness noted that over 60 percent of individuals with a mood disorder experienced worsened symptoms around the holidays — but what causes this increase?
It is simultaneously a result of personal factors (physical health, environment, relationships) and more widely experienced factors (family dynamics, financial pressures, lack of sunshine).
There are many different elements that affect our mental health during the holidays, which makes taking care of ourselves a necessary top precaution during this time of year. Without the proper approach, care and treatment, the holiday season can take a heavy and sometimes even fatal toll on individuals.
For both depression and bipolar disorder, there are different steps you can take to take extra care of your mental health during the holidays so you can still enjoy this time of year and the time spent with your loved ones.
Depression and the holidays
Despite this time of year is generally expected to be full of bright lights, merriness and cheer, it can also bring about feelings of sadness, loneliness, isolation and even grief.
The holidays naturally lead many of us to focus or even well on thoughts about family, money, relationships and social engagement, so if there are issues with any of these areas in our lives, depression can be triggered.
For those who are already struggling with clinical and/or chronic depression, it can exacerbate their pre-existing symptoms. Consequently, depression is often connected with mental or emotional immaturity and an inability to effectively communicate, which can lead to conflicts and complex emotions being even more challenging to navigate.
Bipolar disorder and the holidays
Someone with depression is experiencing lows while everyone around them is on a high; someone with bipolar disorder is experiencing an unpredictable extreme fluctuation of both.
People with bipolar disorder are more likely to experience severe symptoms as a result of triggers like stressful relatives, temptations to binge, overstimulation, exhaustion and excessive indulging, to name a few.
Managing a disorder during the holidays
If you are already receiving professional help, the best thing you can do is continue your treatments and be sure to practice a combination of traditional and holistic activities.
Some of these mental health care methods include:
- Setting small, achievable goals
- Not self-medicating with drugs and alcohol
- Eating nutritious meals and getting plenty of rest
- Engaging in some form of movement daily
- Finding a relaxing hobby that’s purely for fun
- Setting healthy boundaries with loved ones
- Practicing gratitude, kindness and self-compassion
If you aren’t receiving professional help but are starting to believe you may benefit from it, you can send us a message today and we’ll help you figure out your next steps.
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Silvermist believes every person is unique unto themselves, which is why they work closely with each new client so as to provide a treatment plan that’s fully tailored to you.
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