Holiday Anxiety: 5 Tips for Surviving Office Holiday Parties

office holiday party employees celebrating

Braving crowded stores to find the perfect gifts, family gatherings with relatives from far flung places you see only once a year, busy irregular schedules and traveling and decorating and wrapping presents and preparing food, and, of course, don’t forget the office holiday party.

’Tis the season…to be anxious.

With all these holiday activities to worry about, for many people, an office party may seem like a blip on the radar, approached with a combination of obligation, resignation, and for some, maybe even a little excitement. But if you live with anxiety, work holiday parties are probably high on the list of seasonal stressors. And you’re definitely not alone. Continue reading Holiday Anxiety: 5 Tips for Surviving Office Holiday Parties

3 Tips to Survive the Holidays While Living with Mental Illness

snowflakes clouds holiday winter background

As joyous as the holiday season can be, it is not immune from difficulties. If you’re living with a mental illness, dealing with the holiday cheer, increased expectations, and interacting more with family may prove to be overwhelming at times. Stress is often at an all-time high during the holiday season.

Here are some tips to help keep you mentally healthier throughout the holidays.

Tip 1: Be Honest With Yourself

Too often, we rely on others’ standards and expectations for us to dictate how we spend our time during the holidays. This pattern can lead to a crisis when you consider the already stressful season of spending extra money and a condensed amount of time with family members who may not understand your mental illness. Continue reading 3 Tips to Survive the Holidays While Living with Mental Illness

My Holiday Anxiety Around Eating and Body Issues

thanksgiving feast family passing plates

The spread is incredible — juicy dark meat turkey, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, those brussel sprouts my brother prepares that make them actually taste delicious, candied sweet potatoes — and we haven’t even gotten to dessert, my favorite part of every meal, especially when seasonal pies are involved.

My eyes feast on the meal, but inside my anxiety starts to edge its way into my mind. How much can I put on my plate this Thanksgiving and still feel like I won’t be judged for how much or what I am eating? Can I afford to eat two slices of pie, or do I need to stick with just one to keep up appearances? Am I making enough of a show of restraint in comparison to my BMI for the extended family members at the table so I won’t feel judged? Continue reading My Holiday Anxiety Around Eating and Body Issues

4 Issues That Come Up In Couples Counseling During The Holidays

couple christmas tree ornaments

The holiday season can be a wonderful time of closeness with loved ones, but it also causes a lot of stress for many couples. Couples counseling can provide a safe space to work through many common issues that plague couples during the pressure-filled holiday season.

If you are in counseling, some of these issues might resonate with you. Maybe you can raise them in upcoming sessions. If you’re not seeing a therapist, and any of these issues have led to significant conflict in your relationship, it could be time to schedule an appointment with a counselor who can help you work through these concerns. Continue reading 4 Issues That Come Up In Couples Counseling During The Holidays

6 Ways to NOT Let Your Family Stress You Out Over the Holidays

Gilmore Girls family fighting

Are you dreading the holidays? Chances are it’s because every year your family stresses you out when all you’re trying to do is take a break from the stress of work. It’s especially bad if seeing your family evokes painful memories and dredges issues you would rather save for a therapist.

To help you manage this stress, here are six tips for staying calm and dealing with the most challenging members of your family. They might reduce that holiday dread.

1. Set Boundaries

Sometimes family members upset us frequently to the point where we have a rough idea of how long it takes for them to stress us out. Do you know what your limit us? If so, make sure you can say goodbye to your family before approaching that limit. Tell them your time frame ahead of the reunion so they can manage their expectations. This will also help you avoid hurting their feelings.
If you don’t know what your limit is, try to be careful and figure it out for next time. For now air on the conservative side.

You can also set limits on what you’re going to do when you’re with family. If they have a holiday habit of goading or guilting you into something you hate, tell them ahead of time that you’re not going to put up with that. Continue reading 6 Ways to NOT Let Your Family Stress You Out Over the Holidays

Taking Control of Your Mental Illness During the Holiday Season

depressed woman christmas tree holiday

Mental health professionals often refer to the holiday season as the most difficult time of year for their clients. There is more in the air than the scent of fresh baked cookies. On the not-so-sweet side there are awkward family interactions, embarrassing past woes revealed, resurfacing childhood trauma, addiction relapse rampant — the list goes on.

People seem to get sicker this time of year, both mentally and physically. If you find the holidays tough and notice negative changes in your mental health, these tips will shed some light on strategies you can use to stay balanced. Continue reading Taking Control of Your Mental Illness During the Holiday Season

Try Doing Nothing This Holiday: It’s Great for Your Mental Health

Liz Lemon couch doing nothing

Planning to do anything — even something fun and relaxing for the holidays — takes work and sometimes causes stress. Then you might want a vacation from the vacation.

Spending at least a day doing nothing is essential to having a restful holiday where your mind and body power down. But that’s only the beginning of why making time to do nothing over the holidays is great for your mental health.

Then there’s learning how you will actually do it and grappling with the definition of “nothing.” We’re aware of the irony of spending time strategizing how you will do nothing, but a quick read will be worth the reward. Continue reading Try Doing Nothing This Holiday: It’s Great for Your Mental Health

Holidays Stressing You Out? Change Your Thinking with 3 Tips

woman stress holidays

We look forward to the holidays with anticipation and, perhaps, some trepidation. There can be a lot of stress and pressure during holiday activities. This short article will present some thinking tips for the holidays, some ideas you can use to make the holiday season less stressful and more pleasant.

Thinking Tip #1: Get Away from “Should” Thinking and Into Preferences

One of the most common ways in which we get ourselves upset is by thinking other people ‘should’ or ‘must’ behave or act certain ways. If a family member is being selfish or shortsighted, we will be upset with them. It would be nice if they were less selfish and more thoughtful, but there is a big difference between thinking they should versus a preference of it being nice if they would.
When we acknowledge it as a preference that is not happening, we are mildly and temporarily disappointed. When we believe they should act a certain way, we can be upset, sometimes enraged for extended periods of time.
The tip here is to shift your thinking that others ‘should’ or ‘must’ act a certain way to thinking it would be nice if they did but certainly not a requirement for your enjoyment and peace of mind. Continue reading Holidays Stressing You Out? Change Your Thinking with 3 Tips

Holiday Suicide is a Myth — And an Opportunity for Awareness

depressed woman christmas tree holiday

The popular notion of suicide rates spiking around the holidays is a myth, according to years of data the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] collected. Suicides rates are actually lowest during December and peak in the spring. The media perpetuates this myth, but it isn’t the worst kind of lie.

Suicide awareness and prevention is a conversation we should be having during all seasons, so why not take advantage of the media’s holiday blues invention? It’s a chance to look out for the people we care about and be proactive rather than waiting until spring. Riding the wave of media coverage will allow you to reach more people via social media as well. Continue reading Holiday Suicide is a Myth — And an Opportunity for Awareness

The Thanksgiving Dichotomy: Gratitude vs. Stress [Infographic]

family thanksgiving dinner

At Thanksgiving, there are things you are incredibly grateful for: an excuse to gorge yourself on delicious treats; time off from work; reuniting with the friends and family members you love.

And then there are the things you need to pretend to be thankful for: that relative who always asks why you’re still single or when you’ll have children; that dry, flavorless stuffing you’re expected to eat and praise every. single. year; perhaps driving to multiple celebrations in the same day.

Thanksgiving presents a challenge: feeling gratitude has proven mental health benefits, but certain parts of this holiday can be so taxing. Read on to find a middle ground. Continue reading The Thanksgiving Dichotomy: Gratitude vs. Stress [Infographic]