The holidays can be filled with joy, but they can also increase feelings of stress and depression and be especially challenging for those struggling with mental illness. According to a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their condition worse.
Here are some tips for minimizing stress and maintaining your mental health during the holidays:
Connect With Others
If you are feeling lonely or isolated during the holiday season, reach out to friends and family or find a social gathering or support group within the community. Companionship and support from others can help reduce feelings of stress.
Volunteering can also provide comfort and lift your spirits while helping those in need. Reach out to organizations within your community to see what needs they have or what you could do to help others less fortunate.
Take A Break
Schedule time to relax and practice self-care. It’s easy to get caught up, and overwhelmed, in the hustle and bustle of the season, so taking time to do one of your favorite activities is key. Whether you like to read, watch a movie, or listen to music, taking a break to regroup and recharge alone will help with balancing the social demands of the holiday season.
Maintain Healthy Habits
One of the often-recommended treatments for depression is exercise. Moving your body helps increase serotonin, improves your sleep, and increases energy levels. Exercise, and finding the motivation to do it, is harder in the winter and especially around the holidays. However, Linn County Conservation has multiple ways for you to get outside, move your body, and soak up natural Vitamin D from the sun. Learn more about the parks, natural areas, and activities available during the winter months.
Outdoor exercise may not be the answer for everyone or for all mental health issues. Linn County has multiple resources available for those wanting to improve their mental health or to get treatment for a mental illness. One of the resources is the Mental Health Access Center.
Seek Professional Help If Needed
The Mental Health Access Center provides crisis care for people experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis that requires immediate attention. Providers quickly assess your situation, provide services and supports to help alleviate your crisis and connect you to community-based services. There are four providers “housed” within the MHAC including Abbe Health, UnityPoint Chemical Dependency Unit, and Foundation 2.
Currently, the Mental Health Access Center offers daytime walk-in hours seven days a week from 8 a.m.–10 p.m. No appointment is necessary. For services after hours, please call Foundation 2 Mobile Crisis Teams at 319-362-2174.