For many, the holiday season is a time for festivities with friends and family. But for others, this time can bring on or worsen stress, anxiety and depression. Managing mental illness is always challenging, but it can be particularly difficult during the holiday season.
"The dizzying array of demands during the holidays may feel overwhelming at times," says Jessica Peterson, DO, Medical Director at the LRMC Senior Behavioral Health Center. "However, with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would!"
- Don't force yourself to be happy just because it is the holiday season. It's normal to feel sadness and grief if you can't be with loved ones.
- Volunteer to help others or seek out community, religious, or social events.
- Change your expectations and realize that the holidays don't have to be perfect or just like they were in years past.
- Plan ahead and stick to a budget for gifts and food.
- Don't try to participate in every project or activity - learn to say no.
- Overindulgence only adds to stress and guilt. Stay on track with healthy eating, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep.
- Make time for yourself - go for a walk, listen to music, or read a good book.
Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available and the Leesburg Regional Medical Center (LRMC) Senior Behavioral Health Center is committed to offering comprehensive therapy that understands the uniqueness of aging.
While the struggle can feel isolating, remember that you are not alone. "Be sure to seek help from professional mental health services if you are having a hard time finding peace and joy on your own," concluded Peterson. "At the LRMC Senior Behavioral Health Center, we offer an environment where adult patients feel comfortable, secure and ready to engage in their recovery."
Be sure to consult a doctor to help you decide on the treatment plan that will be best for you. Admitted on a voluntary basis only, patients receive individualized treatment from a caring, supportive program. The LRMC Senior Behavioral Health Center can be reached at (352) 323-3270.