There is usually a lot of excitement and merriment over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays. Once you’re done hustling and bustling during the festive seasons, you may realize you’re suffering from a holiday hangover. It happens after the adrenaline of shopping, cleaning, decorating, cooking, baking, and entertaining from November through January wears off. You’re left leaving stressed, fatigued, anxious, or depressed. These emotions can affect your mental health and are potentially dangerous for people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs or are in recovery.
The Potential Negative Effects of the Holidays on Your Mental Health
Overextending yourself for the holidays can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Although you may recover physically in a few days or weeks, the emotional and psychological effects can persist. Holiday depression may be one of the most damaging effects since it has the potential to trigger substance abuse and land you in a rehab program.
Using drugs and drinking are coping methods for many people battling depression symptoms. In fact, depression is a leading mental health condition that co-occurs with addiction. Depression is also a withdrawal symptom brought on by excess alcohol intake. Continuing to drink despite a hangover may worsen the symptoms.
How to Protect Your Mental Health from Holiday Hangovers
There are a few things you can do to prevent potential mental health issues as a result of exerting yourself during the holidays:
- Avoid the need for everything to be perfect: Wanting everything done right is a source of anxiety and depression for many people. Be mindful and resist the temptation to fix everything that seems out of place.
- Have reasonable expectations: High expectations may lead to disappointment. Do what is within your control and allow the rest to work itself out. Also, set realistic goals to reduce stress.
- Stay away from drugs and alcohol: Holiday stressors are linked to alcohol consumption and a breach of sobriety for those battling alcoholism. As a part of self-care, will yourself to stay away from gatherings where people are drinking or engaging in substance abuse.
- Don’t isolate from family and friends: It’s normal to hibernate during winter. But it is a recipe for loneliness and depression. Try and stay connected to minimize the feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness associated with the cold holiday seasons.
What to Do When the Holidays Threaten Your Mental Health
Depression during or after the end-of-year holidays is more than the winter blues. It can affect your ability to perform daily functions or lead to substance use as a way to cope. You can always talk to your doctor if the symptoms persist for more than six weeks or are getting worse. You may already know the signs and symptoms of depression if you experienced it before. Call your doctor or therapist right away if you notice symptoms such as a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, feeling worthless, or suicidal thoughts.
San Antonio Recovery Center in Can Help
You don’t have to deal with holiday depression on your own if it becomes too much to bear. We are committed to helping individuals affected by depression through our mental health treatment programs. If depression is co-occurring with alcohol or drug abuse, our dual diagnosis treatment program may be right for you. We will conduct a full evaluation to determine your needs and which of these treatment settings is most suitable for your recovery:
Your patient-centered treatment plan may include evidenced-based depression therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, meditation therapy, individual therapy, and holistic therapy. The goal of psychotherapy is to help you understand how stress, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors lead to depression and how to manage them. Some clients may require treatment with medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers during and after rehab.