Supporting Those with Anxiety During Holidays

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

While the holidays are traditionally considered a time of joy and celebration, for the many who suffer from mood disorders, holidays can bring on feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation and despair. People without strong family bonds may feel especially lonely during the holidays. For others, year-end reflections on personal, community and global affairs can heighten anxiety. The pressure to “be cheery” can ring false for people suffering from depression or mood disorders. Add stress and financial pressures, and you are looking at a very tough time for some. Dr. Mirna Ballestas, clinical psychologist and director of the child and adolescent behavioral health outpatient program Under The Rainbow of Sinai Health System, offers the following tips for recognizing and supporting those who are struggling at this time of year:

Don’t ignore challenging emotions: Often the tendency is to ignore difficult emotions, distract oneself, or try to “cheer up” family members. Instead of glossing over feelings of anxiety, make space for these genuine emotions, talk about them with others, and allow them to coexist with more positive feelings.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Don’t isolate: Socially isolated people are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. Those suffering from anxiety or depression may isolate themselves from social situations, especially around the holidays. Be aware of isolating behavior among yourself and others and find ways to combat it, such as volunteering or finding ways to re-engage with friends and family.

Moderate alcohol and substance use: People often use alcohol or other substances to numb themselves or suppress challenging emotions. Be aware, practice moderation for yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Be mindful about spending: Some people use holiday shopping as a distraction. Be mindful of your shopping to ensure overspending does not become a source of new distress when the holidays are over.

Comments are closed.