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Holiday stress relief tips for young psychiatric patients

December 29, 2016 - Crista Maracic

The holidays can be a time of laughter and joy. However, they can also be particularly stressful for young psychiatric patients. Being surrounded by family and friends can conjure up nostalgic memories, while also creating mixed feelings, stress and anxiety. To offer support during this holiday season, we at the Northwell Health Early Treatment Program want to share some tips on navigating this challenging time of the year. After all, the holidays are a time for rest, rejuvenation and celebration!

Tip #1: Know your limits
It’s easy to overdo it during the holidays. There are expectations from friends and family, as well as pressures to buy holiday gifts and consume an overabundance of sweet treats. It’s important to know your limits. Balance is key, and the new year is the perfect opportunity to set boundaries that can guide your future. Recognize your limits and set them for others to respect.

Tip #2: Ask for help (and accept it)
Many of us like to take on challenges that we believe we can accomplish without any additional help. This time of year, it’s important to not be driven by pride. If a friend or family member offers to help with holiday errands or tasks, say yes! This doesn’t communicate a weakness. It just means that you’ll have more time to do the things you actually enjoy doing. Yes, you can give yourself permission to avoid crowded shopping centers and frantic last-minute shopping excursions.

Tip #3: Medicate with medicine, and that’s all
Have you been invited to a holiday event or party? There may be alcoholic beverages served, but don’t be tempted to imbibe when you’re taking medication. To skip the adverse side effects and other unpleasant physiological reactions associated with drinking, your best bet is to choose a non-alcoholic option like seltzer water, ginger ale or sparkling apple cider. If you are considering consuming alcohol, make sure to talk to your doctor first. Your focus should always be on continuing your medication regimen. Why try anything risky that may compromise your ability to celebrate the holidays?

Lastly, remember that we are here for you to help you manage your symptoms throughout the holidays and all year long, and to support you in being the strong and resilient person that you are. Reach out to us any time if you are experiencing a change in symptoms. And, of course, don’t forget to share with us the memories you’ve created this holiday season!