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The difficulties associated with living with a mental illness can be exacerbated by the stress of the holiday season.  Accepting and managing the challenges of the holidays can help transform stress into success.  After all, the holidays are designed to be a delightful time of celebration.  The following tips may help those with mental illness, or the families of individuals with mental illness, enjoy the holiday season.

 

Tip One: Know Your Limits

With parties to attend, gifts to buy, and meals to cook, the holiday to-do list can seem never ending.  While it can be difficult to say no, try not to overcommit.  It’s okay to turn down party invitations or ask for help cooking.  Know how much you can handle, and don’t feel bad saying no!

Tip Two: Don’t Overschedule

Your calendar is already jam packed—squeezing in time for holiday festivities can be nearly impossible!  Instead of double booking and running from activity to activity, schedule some downtime for yourself.  This will allow you time to relax and enjoy the holidays.  Try to avoid attending multiple events in one day, or scheduling busy events back to back.

Tip Three: Skip the Holiday Toasts

Drinking can exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety.  While there’s always an abundance of alcoholic beverages, drink sparingly.  This can be hard if everyone at the party is bellying up to the bar, but especially for those on medication, the aftermath is just not worth it.  Stick to cider or hot chocolate to be safe!

Tip Four: Ask for Help

Running to the mall for even a quick errand can be a hassle this time of year.  Don’t be shy—ask for help.  Splitting up the workload can make everyone’s life a whole lot easier!

Tip Five: Don’t Forget Your Medicine

Your normal routine tends to be switched into overdrive during the holidays.  The change can often cause people to forget their daily medications.  Don’t get caught up and forget—set yourself reminders by using sticky notes, phone alerts, or emails.

Tip Six: Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs

If you’re starting to feel overstressed or depressed, don’t ignore those feelings.  These symptoms can trigger mental health episodes.  Contact your doctor, if need be.

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