Don’t Let PTSD Give You the Holiday Blues & Follow These Tips
Let’s face it, the holidays are not an enjoyable time for everyone. People who struggle with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) may experience stress and anxiety from social gatherings, tense family situations, and countless holiday obligations. As you know, after you have completed your PTSD Treatment Program, there is still plenty of work to be done.
Treatment is not a “quick fix,” so don’t be surprised if you get a case of the “holiday blues.” If you know coping mechanisms to handle PTSD, but you’re concerned that the holiday season may throw a few curveballs, keep reading. Our team has put together a list of strategies to cope with and manage PTSD anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
The most important thing to do is take care of yourself. It’s easy to get in a whirlwind of holiday festivities, such as holiday parties, shopping, family gatherings, and all the preparation that goes into the season. What can you do to keep from getting overwhelmed? If you have a routine to help you stay on track with your health and mental wellbeing, stick to it. Additionally, incorporate new activities such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and other calming exercises.
Get Lots of Rest
Don’t forget the importance of good sleep, no matter how hectic your schedule is. Getting quality sleep has always been linked to mental health and can improve conditions such as PTSD. It can also increase your energy, provide better focus, and mitigate stress. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night, but no more than nine.
Volunteer for Your Mental Wellbeing
This rewarding activity does a lot more than benefit the individual on the receiving end. Individuals who volunteer discover that it’s good for their mental health, as it increases their sense of satisfaction and overall wellbeing. Don’t just assume that people who volunteer are happier because they were happy, to begin with – this may be true for some, but not all. In fact, some studies have revealed that volunteering can improve certain individuals’ moods. Therefore, if the holiday season has you down, you can boost your mood and lend a helping hand by volunteering with the less fortunate.
Attend Group Meetings
After finishing our PTSD treatment program, people incorporate a variety of activities in their lives to help them get better. People suffering from mental health conditions often have a dual diagnosis (mental disorder and substance abuse). To treat both, they join a 12-step program, go to therapy, and participate in group meetings.
Over time, some of these activities fall by the wayside, usually, the activity that the individual deems “least” important. For many, this is attending group meetings. If you have stopped, now is the time to restart. Some advantages include:
- Fewer feelings of isolation, loneliness, and judgment
- Fewer feelings of depression, anxiety, and anger
- Increase in positive emotions
- More confidence in yourself and your abilities
- Increased motivation to manage PTSD and substance abuse
Even if you have nowhere specific to go, don’t stay cooped up inside. Your body’s circadian clock needs exposure to the world beyond your four walls. In other words, spending too much time inside can negatively impact your energy levels, sleep schedule, and increase your risk of substance abuse. Again, if you have nowhere specific to go, consider:
- Taking a walk to the nearest park
- Reading a book at the farthest park
- Going for a bike ride to and from work (if possible)
- Taking your dog for a longer than usual walk and in a different neighborhood
- Watching the sunset at least once a week
- Learning a new outdoor sport, like tennis, soccer, or baseball
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Are you a people pleaser? Do you have difficulty saying no to activities you don’t want just to avoid making someone else feel bad? It is good to be selfless occasionally, but especially when you are feeling stressed because of the holidays. So, remember, try not to over-commit.
Attend Some Gatherings
Saying “no” can sometimes be a double-edged sword. If you say it too often, it can have several negative impacts, so remember to find balance. Don’t RSVP “yes” to every holiday invitation, but at the same time, don’t make a habit of turning them down. When you go to a party, if you struggle with substance abuse, we recommend taking a friend to help you stay sober.
Don’t forget that at The Sands Treatment Center, we’re with you all the way. For assistance, contact us by calling (844)200-2509.