Happy holidays my dear mental health warriors… even if it might not feel particularly “happy” to you. I know how much the holidays can suck, and I can tell it’s in full swing with Christmas music playing everywhere. It doesn’t matter how many people you have around you, loneliness can always stick to your cliche ugly Christmas sweater (I’m sorry not sorry but I’m really over them). Not to mention that your mental health illness doesn’t really care that it’s the holidays.
The bottom line is that you absolutely need to care about yourself first, holidays or not, even if that means skipping out on parties and social events.
Got none? That’s an even better reason to practice those self-care activities instead of drowning in depression in bed or other emotions. Stepping out of the house for a walk with some tea or coffee, or just staying inside when it’s cold and reading a book or journalling can be a big first step. Whatever it is, focus on you and what makes you calm and relaxed. I know that your own anxiety and winter blues can be draining enough, so believe me when I say that I understand how difficult just getting dressed can be in the morning.
Now these events are added to your plate and there’s a lot of pressure that comes with looking the part, saying the right thing, and the hidden costs of it all.
Even if you’re a natural social butterfly, it’s not easy juggling everything during the holiday season. Emotional triggers can be a big hit for anyone this season, but especially for someone with a mental health illness. We just happen to feel a lot of things very deeply and without the proper strategies, it can be really challenging to cope with.
In case you missed the message, remember that you are not alone this season and feeling shitty is okay.
You don’t need to wear the damn ugly Christmas sweater just because someone invited you to that party.
You are you, and you are enough.
P.S. If you feel like you really have to go to that holiday event, make sure you map out a quiet space for yourself at the very beginning. It can be an empty room or a bathroom, but the keyword is private. This way, you’re sure to have an escape if the anxiety ever kicks in and you need a temporary way out.