This time of the year is often hard for people who suffer from mental health issues since there are extra pressures on finances, relationships and reminders of loved ones who may not be with us.
A few simple tips to cope
1) Sleep: One of the most important things for maintaining mood stability is ensuring good sleep patterns. If you have been my patient you know how much I emphasize this. This article by Dr Colinda Linde is one of my favourite on the topics.
2) Substances: It’s a very tempting time of the year, especially for those who struggle with addiction. Many people justify substance use during the holiday season, purely because it’s a ‘special’ time. Be aware of your triggers and avoid social events which involve extensive substance abuse.
3) Relationships: Connect with people who understand and respect you, and who you enjoy spending time with. Pre-prepare coping strategies which can help you get through stressful family events. This article explains well why there is so much stress associated with family gatherings.
4) Nurture yourself: Do something that gives you pleasure every day. It doesn’t matter how small or big it is. Patients have mentioned to me something’s that help are gardening, reading, meditating, doing arts and crafts, colouring in pictures, reading, praying or exercising.
5) Plan your day: Break difficult tasks into smaller parts. Give yourself credit for the small things you get done.
6) Remember to be mindful: Be non-judgementally aware of the present moment, your thoughts and feelings.
7) Medication: Make sure you have enough medication to get you through the holidays.