YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Big gatherings and a sense of cheer often mark the holidays, but for many, the season can bring a lot of stress.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64 percent of people who struggle with their mental health say the holidays make their mental health worse.
Hope Haney, the executive director of NAMI Mahoning Valley, says the holidays can bring a lot of baggage.
“Just a feeling of being burnt out, a feeling of being very tired, a feeling of longing to return to normalcy,” Haney said.
Three major family-oriented holidays fall within six weeks’ time, plus New Year’s Eve, which often brings the pressure of drinking and partying.
Whether you’re struggling with addiction, the loss of a loved one or general stress, Haney’s best advice is to be patient with yourself.
“Plan how you’re going to celebrate them and also establish in your mind some boundaries about what is good for you and what would be too much,” she said.
Haney says it’s OK to take some time to compose yourself or decide to leave a gathering if it’s creating tough emotions or triggering thoughts of relapse.
“There are going to be difficult situations and saying to ourselves, ‘That’s OK,’ and moving forward,” Haney said.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, contact NAMI Mahoning Valley or another mental health organization. You can visit NAMI’s website or text NAMI to 741741.