Mental Health Doctors Give 3 Tips for Getting Through Holidays

The winter holidays are approaching, and with them the potential for stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Take a proactive approach this year and make at appointment now with the mental health doctors at Body and Mind Health Partners in Las Vegas. We can help make your holidays happier.

holidays with family

Why Thanksgiving Can Be Stressful

There are many reasons people find holidays stressful. Some reasons are quite individual and personal, while others are more universal.

More people gather in the U.S. for Thanksgiving than for any other holiday. Although Christmas is widely celebrated, Thanksgiving is even more so because it encompasses those whose religions are not Christian as well as other people of widely varying backgrounds. A holiday in which we gather with loved ones to be grateful has wide appeal.

Unfortunately, in practice, the holiday does not play out the way we wish it would. Many differences and issues can make Thanksgiving stressful. Family members who are LGBTQ+ can be forced to contend with relatives who may not be as accepting as they hoped. Politics can cause arguments. Thinner family members may criticize heavier ones. Career choices may be mocked or derided. Dinner guests may be forced to sit at the table with relatives or family friends who abused them as children.

Serving and consuming alcohol at these events increases the risks of clashes exponentially.

Why Christmas Can Be Stressful

All the above reasons for Thanksgiving being stressful also apply to Christmas. But there are more.

Christmas comes with high expectations that are often unattainable. The underlying message is that everyone should feel happy, warm, loving, celebratory. But often people do not feel this way. They feel sad that this year a parent is missing from the celebration, either through death or divorce. They are depressed because they have lost their job or their relationship and feel stress because others expect them to be joyful. Some families may not be able to afford celebrating Christmas this year as extravagantly as they have in years past, and this makes them feel disappointed.

Celebrating the holidays is not simple. But the mental health doctors at Body and Mind Health Centers can help. Here are some tips our doctors give to our patients for getting through the holidays with the least amount of stress:

  1. Spend only what you can afford. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t get your child a PlayStation and don’t let others dictate how much you should spend. Overspending leads to increased stress after the holidays when the bills come due.
  2. Make some ground rules. If your dad always makes comments about your weight, if grandpa starts talking politics, if your mother-in-law always asks when you’re going to have children, tell them ahead of time you will not tolerate these behaviors this year. If you aren’t comfortable leaving when they violate your boundaries, go outside instead or to another room.
  3. Limit the time you spend at the gathering. Parents or others may try to make you feel guilty for leaving earlier than they would like, but you get to make your own choices. No one should be forced to endure a difficult situation with no end in sight.

If you would like more personalized advice for specific or unusual situations or family dynamics, make an appointment today at our wellness center with one of our mental health doctors. One-on-one assistance from a licensed therapist can be your lifeline for getting through the holidays. Call today.