How To Handle Emotional Triggers This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again!

            You know, the time of year when our culture, the media, and almost every holiday song insists that it’s  ‘the most wonderful time of the year’? But for many it’s not.

            The holidays can be especially difficult for those suffering from a mental illness. Feelings of loneliness, loss and isolation start to intensify as external stressors manifest making it a particularly taxing time of year for some.

            Don’t brush off your symptoms or chalk them up to the hustle and bustle of the season. The holidays are complicated but there are ways to cope. Start by identifying common triggers for depression and anxiety we see pop up this time of year.

            Manage Your Expectations

            Disappointment can cause a downward spiral of emotional distress. It happens when the cookies burn or you didn’t get that Pinterest-perfect family card done in time.

            Perfectionism can be toxic. It can make people feel inadequate and cause them to withdraw socially. So, let it go!

            That’s certainly easier said than done in the world of social media. Forget about what celebrity bloggers are doing. Focus on the goodness in your life. Don’t overcommit. Try to be present and mindful of the things that really matter.

            Don’t Avoid Grief

            The truth is, we’re all vulnerable. We all grieve. Whats most important is grieving in healthy way. Don’t hesitate to reach out for the support you need. Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology are effective ways to deal with loss and process grief year round.

            Set Healthy Boundaries

            This one isn’t always easy- but it’s essential! Proper self-care is key to both your mental and physical wellness. Sometimes you have to say, “no”.

            No to engaging with toxic friends or family…

            No to using substances to cope…

            No to overeating and triggering guilt.

            Saying ‘no’ doesn’t make you a bad friend or family member. Saying ‘no’ is simply a healthy way of setting boundaries and making yourself  and your emotional wellness a priority in your life.

Try not to overeat.

If you do, try to pick up your healthy eating habits tomorrow.

            Above all, think about ways we can help change the conversation this time of year. Think about those who are hurting. Check in on those family and friends who you need your support. Practice self-care and make yourself a priority during the holidays and beyond.

            Contact Amanda Itzkoff MD’s Office to Schedule an Appointment: or ring my office at (917)-982-2184 

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