As a time to create memories, enjoy family time, and exchange gifts, the holidays can be a joyful time. Mental illness, however, doesn't discriminate; it certainly doesn't follow the calendar, making it less than a wonderful time of year for many.
While the holiday season is a time for celebration, it can also leave you feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. As such, there may be a need for support during this time. But, what if you can’t connect with your therapist? Thankfully, you can use the following ways to find mental health support during the holidays.
Find Alternative Coping Strategies
Generally, if it isn't an emergency, you should find an alternative coping strategy, such as the following.
Ask your loved ones for extra support. You might have a therapist who is your primary emotional outlet, but you can also seek support from others in your life. When your therapist is away, request support from your family and friends.
Attend a support group. When you talk to other people who are experiencing the same problems as you, you can get a lot of relief. Join a support group in your area or online, and consider attending meetings when your therapist is unavailable. It can also be helpful to reach out to your church, synagogue, or mosque if you’re religious.
Write in a journal. You can process your emotions by writing in a journal. You can write down any interesting insights you discover and discuss them with your therapist at your next session.
Practice the skills you’ve learned in therapy. While the break from your therapist seems difficult, it presents a chance to utilize your skills. Try to apply what you've developed with your therapist in previous sessions to your current situation.
Practice self-care. The absence of your therapist can put you at a disadvantage when it comes to coping with daily life. You have been struggling with painful emotions and memories, and now the person you trust and depend on for support is unavailable. If you feel more fragile or anxious than usual, be kind to yourself. If you can't relax, try physical activity, hobbies, reading, or watching movies to distract yourself.
What To Do In An Emergency
Calling 911 and speaking with the police may be necessary if you or a loved one are in immediate danger. The operator should be informed that there is a psychiatric emergency and asked to dispatch police officers trained in crisis intervention or trained to help patients experiencing psychiatric emergencies.
Need Immediate Help In A Crisis?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-TALK (8255). Whether you or someone you know is in crisis or considering suicide, you can reach a trained counselor 24/7 by calling 800-273-TALK (8255).
Using the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, you can get in touch with the Lifeline center that is closest to you. An empathetic and judgment-free crisis worker will answer your call. In addition to ensuring your safety, the crisis worker can provide information on local mental health resources.
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741. Get free, 24/7 crisis support by text by connecting with a trained crisis counselor.
National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233). Whether you're experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information, trained advocates are available 24/7 to help. Services are available in Spanish and other languages.
National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673). Obtain free services from a trained staff member of a local agency that offers sexual assault services. Free 24/7 crisis assistance is available through Online Hotline as well.
For more resources, please visit our Mental Health Resource List.