By Stephen Bitsoli, Sunshine Behavioral Health
Year after year, December after December, it’s like “Groundhog Day” is playing over and over in your head. You cannot get out of the holidays. They come around like a bad record.
If you avoid going to visit family, they are worried and have a miserable time. If you are anxious around friends, you get blamed for being a buzzkill. But you would never hear the end of it if you didn’t go out with them at all. It’s already going to be a heated and testy time. Either you don’t have family and wish you did, or you have a hard time hanging around with the same group of people all the time.
So how do you handle all of this while still staying sane? Here is some advice from mental health experts.
Make New Connections
The holidays are all about socializing, and you might feel let down when you are not involved or able to attend group gatherings. Or, you might dread seeing toxic family members who never miss an opportunity to push your buttons. Take this time to meet new friends. Join a club based on your interests. Tag along with a friend to a party where you don’t know many people and start conversations. Finding new people you enjoy spending time with gives you more options for companionship so you don’t feel forced to be around family or friends who make you feel bad.
The holidays are a great excuse to reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with, to check in and see how they’re doing. It’ll help you widen your social circle. You can both talk about holiday stress to blow off steam and reduce feelings of loneliness.
Stay Indoors and be Safe
Don’t be afraid to stay home for your mental health. If you have anxiety related to COVID-19 about going somewhere for a holiday social, chances are you would feel better canceling the plans.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has tips to stay safe in communities at severe risk for COVID-19. These include to:
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