Surviving the Holidays


We all know that the upcoming holiday season can mean shopping, parties, and lots of stress, frustration, temper outbursts, but it can be so much more if you are already dealing with a mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD, Autism, or more.

If you have a mental  illness you are already close to the brink, and the additional stress of the holidays can actually cause you to go over and crash and burn.  But there


 are things you can do to prepare for the upcoming holidays.  I am going to give you some tips, but remember if you feel overly stressed please seek professional treatment.  Most patients cancel their counseling appointments because of other priorities, but I am asking you to make your mental health a priority in 2017.


  1. Self-Care:  If you are at a party and starting to feel off a little, excuse yourself and take a walk, do some deep breathing, go outside (with your coat).  
  2. Don’t forget to laugh and enjoy your family and friends.
  3. Keep to your routines: sleeping, regular meals, medication, appointments (counseling and medical), and find a support group for the additional support during this busy time of year.  Don’t forget your medications and don’t ignore the warning signs.
  4. Know that whatever you are feeling is right for you, but try not to let other people hurt you by their words.
  5. Talk to your family and friends about setting specific timings for family traditions: baking cookies, decorating the house, opening presents, etc.
  6. Make sure you set realistic goals and be flexible.  You may have emergencies come up and you need to roll with the punches.  Make lists of what needs to be done by specific dates and work on them each day until you are done with the list.
  7. Know your limits.  Make sure you don’t plan going to doctors and shopping and wrapping all in one day.  
  8. Don’t overschedule yourself or your family.
  9. Skip holiday toasts.
  10. Ask for help with holiday errands.  Do you have older children that can drive and shop?  Ask them to go to the store and get the things on your list.  Delegate cleaning chores, remember you don’t have to do everything yourself.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental illness or grief around this time of year be supportive and check in with them about if they need anything.  Seek professional help if more interventions are needed.  For further information please email me at


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