This post is a part of Nicole Carman’s mental health-related holiday post series, “Taking Care of your Mental Health during the Holiday Season.” It was written and contributed to this post series by Jeremy Emery, who is a mental health advocate I have gotten to know on Twitter.
To see the post line-up for the previous and remaining posts in this series, please visit this page on Nicole’s blog, Navigating Darkness. If you enjoy this post, please comment and consider sharing it on social media!
What can I say about Christmas that you don’t already know? The cheesy Christmas specials, food, and of course family traditions. But those of us who have a mental health diagnosis see this time of year differently.
Financial stress. Situational and environmental triggers. Anxiety and depression. This is the time of the year when the suicide rate rises. While others see hope, we see our own darkness.
But how do we cope with the myriad of emotions that flood our minds? It isn’t easy. For most of us, we want to isolate ourselves. We’re obligated to join in. So we mask our pain. There isn’t an easy fix to what we go through. But there’s always hope.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, our stress level goes through the roof. I know that everyone is different, but this advice that I’m about to give you has helped me through tough times.
Preventive steps are always best.
I know how hard it is to turn to loved ones when it comes to our emotions. Family can be a great support system, even if it doesn’t look like it. Always remember that your family does love you. Turning to a special confidant in the family can and will save your life.
Other than family, what are other ways of coping? For me, distraction helps a lot.
Find something that you enjoy doing and do it.
Try to do something that you enjoy each day leading up to Christmas. Surprise yourself. Aromatherapy also helps. I’m not guaranteeing that it will help you, but it’s worth a try. Surround yourself with your favorite scents. The smell of apple pie, the ocean waves, and lavender can change your mood for the better any time of the day.
Try to look forward to Christmas. Picture yourself as a child. Try to guess what you may be getting. Just be sure to set your expectations accordingly. Never forget that it’s okay to not be okay. What you’re feeling is natural. Your emotions are your own and it’s okay to feel the way you are.
And lastly, never forget that you are not alone. There’s always someone who knows what you’re going through. Never hesitate to call out for help because someone will hear you.
Best wishes and Merry Christmas from me to you. Thank you for your time and interest in reading this post. God bless you all.