Recognizing Anxiety and Depression During The Holidays
The holiday season is traditionally thought of as a time for joy and happiness. However, the same elements that some people look forward to, cause stress, anxiety and even lead to depression in others. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the US will suffer from mental illness each year. Those are fairly high odds that someone close to you may be affected.
So how can you determine if a friend or loved one is struggling with mental health, anxiety, or depression during the holiday season? The team at My Psychiatrist wants to help answer that question for you. We have provided some insights you can use to make an informed assessment, however, you should always trust medical professionals, like the ones at My Psychiatrist, to provide an official, medical diagnosis.
How do the Holidays Affect Mental Health Conditions?
Its less to do with the time of year, and more due to the expectations of the holidays. Persistent stress, demanding schedules, social engagements, financial struggles, gift shopping, food preparation, being scrutinized by family, and days and weeks of planning. All of these factors occurring at the same time can cause people to feel overwhelmed and rundown. This elevated stress level can worsen existing mental health concerns like anxiety and depression.
One of the best things people can do to help alleviate some of this stress is to encourage self-care behaviors, such as proper amounts of sleep, eating healthy and balanced meals, and having sufficient downtime to unwind and relax.
Are Certain Conditions Affected More During The Holidays?
The winter months are filled with shorter days, and less sun actually contributes to changes in your physical and mental health. Some people are more prone to cycles of depression, while others may experience what’s known as a seasonal affective disorder. For some, the holidays bring about feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially for those who have lost a loved one or have lost touch with their family or friends
Key Signs for Mental Health That Loved Ones Should Look For
Important behavior to watch out for are changes in their mood or communication, in ways that are different from their normal demeanor. Here are some questions to use as reference:
- Do they appear to be more withdrawn than normal?
- Any erratic and impulsive behavior?
- Easily annoyed or irritable?
- Not responding to texts or phone calls?
- Avoiding social gatherings
- Visibly anxious or stressed?
They may try to outright express their feelings, so it’s important to listen and truly hear what they are trying to say.
Great Ways To Support Someone’s Mental Health
Simple acts of gratitude go a long way. Reaching out and offering your time to someone in need can mean a world of difference to them. It may seem like the basic conversation to you, but allowing them to express themselves can help relieve stress, and provide a much-needed morale boost! Here are examples of helpful things to say:
- Remind them that you are there for them when they need you.
- Acknowledge that the holiday season is a challenging time.
- Tell them you are glad to have them in your life and that you look forward to moments such as this.
- Remind them that things get better, life always has the opportunity to improve
- Let them know that you love and care for them.
Professional Anxiety and Depression Therapy at My Psychiatrist
If you are truly worried about a friend, family member, or loved one, it’s important to get them the help they need! Depression and anxiety are powerful and highly emotional mental health conditions that can rapidly spiral out of control under poor circumstances.
Seeking help from a trained professional is the best and most efficient way to properly diagnose and treat a mental health condition. After which, a unique therapy plan can be implemented to set them on a happier, healthier path in life.
The coping mechanisms learned during therapy will help your loved ones manage stress, resolve underlying issues, and will help them navigate everyday life moving forward!
Anxiety and Depression Therapy Available in Reston and Falls Church, VA
If you would like to learn more about the therapy options that are available at My Psychiatrist, call our offices to speak with a member of our team or schedule a consultation online today!