How To Deal With Anxiety and Depression Over Christmas
The holidays are far from easy when you have a mental illness. There is so much pressure to be happy and joyful when you can’t feel those emotions no matter how hard you try.
Also, Christmas can be such a stressful time of year. You want to be able to buy the perfect gift for everyone, and there are so many parties and events to commit too. When you are dealing with bad anxiety, this sounds like an absolute nightmare!
I have dealt with bad anxiety and depression since back in 2013. My mental health journey has been a long one and therefore I have seen a few Christmases within this time frame.
Today, I thought I would share a few personal tips with you all on how I coped with anxiety and depression over Christmas. I have gotten myself into a habit of doing these things every year and it makes the holidays a lot more enjoyable. Just like it’s supposed to be.
Get gifts as soon as possible-
Basically, don’t wait till mid-December to buy all of your presents. All of the rushing around and busy shops can get extremely stressful. Therefore, I like to get all of my presents early. For the past two years, most of my presents have been purchased before the beginning of December. It makes life so much easier and it means I can relax throughout the holiday month and just focus on home life and work.
I highly recommend you do this, to avoid a very high amount of holiday stress. It’s never too early to get presents for people. No matter what some people say. When you see it, buy it!
Don’t forget about Self-Care –
During this time of year, you are so focused on making others happy that it is easy to forget about yourself. It’s very easily done around Christmas but forgetting comes at a cost to your mental health.
That is why I like to put aside an hour or so every day to do something that I enjoy. Not something that I have to do but something that I want to do. Even just something as simple as watching a few episodes of my favourite television shows or playing a video game. Get yourself into a habit and you will feel so much healthier and ready for Christmas.
Remember, there are 24 hours in a day. You can spare an hour or more for yourself and your self-care routine.
Don’t be afraid to say ”No!” –
When you suffer from anxiety and depression, it can be difficult to say no to people. In my experience, I just wanted everyone to like me. I didn’t want to turn anybody down because I was afraid they wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore and give up on me.
However, you should never feel like this. The truth of the matter is, you can’t please everyone. Some people may not like you and there is nothing you can do about it.
Over the holidays, you may get invited to a lot more social occasions. As a person with social anxiety, I have always found this too much. I would end up feeling exhausted and depressed. It just wasn’t worth it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to any get-together. Just don’t be afraid to say ”no” if you need a break when it gets too much. Your friends and family will understand and shouldn’t make you feel pressured.
Lower your expectations –
I never mean to sound harsh but Christmas is nothing compared to the build-up. Everybody gets excited over two months for one day at the end of December. My point is, don’t sit there and imagine it being the best, most magical day ever. Your mental illness won’t disappear just because it is Christmas. I can’t count how many times I have thought ”Is that it?” when Christmas Day ended.
Therefore, if you lower your expectations, the disappointment won’t be too depressing. I remember my first Christmas when my depression was really bad. I ended up crying a lot throughout the day because I had raised my hopes up far too much. Just lower them, don’t build it up too much and enjoy yourself on the day. Live in the present!
Remember what Christmas is really about –
Don’t forget that Christmas is all about peace, joy and spending time with the people that you love. It isn’t about who buys the best present or who gets the best present. It isn’t about who has the most or best Christmas decorations. It is not a competition and was never meant to be as stressful as it has become.
All you need to do on the day is surround yourself with the right people and have fun. Tell your friends and family that you love them instead of buying them an expensive gift. These words and letting them know how grateful you are to have them in your life is worth more than anything.
In my opinion, there is no better antidepressant than making others genuinely smile!
Anyway, I hope you all have a nice Christmas and you picked up a few good pointers from this guest post.
Thank you so much for reading!
- Ruth (ColourfulHope)
Bio: Hello there. My name is Ruth and I am a mental health blogger from the UK. I blog over at colourfulhope.co.uk and my main aim is to help as many people as I can with their mental health. I want something good to come out of my many years of experience with anxiety and depression.