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Jenev Caddell

Mental Health and the Holidays

By December 21, 2010

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As Christmas and New Year's draw closer, many of us are bracing for changes to our routines that could shake anyone's mental health. Travel and jetlag, a break from the rigid schedule of work or school, meals at unusual times, and the distractions of family can all contribute to forgetting to take medication. Many therapists and other mental health providers are out of reach while they enjoy their own celebrations (and hard-earned rest). Holiday stress may worsen mental health conditions, and while holiday joy is a wonderful thing, January can be a real let-down.

Here's how to get through these busy days and long winter nights:

  • Make sure you take all your medication as prescribed.
  • Be prepared for mental health emergencies and have a plan for how to handle them, especially while you're away from home or your regular treatment provider is on vacation. If you're your own primary caregiver, carry a paper copy of your emergency plan and share it with a family member or friend who will be spending time with you.
  • Get your prescriptions refilled with plenty of time before you travel. You may need an extra note from your doctor if you're taking heavy-duty meds and want an early refill, so start the process now. If you think you might need to increase your dose or take extra meds to get through the holidays, now's a good time to consult with your doctor about that too.
  • Use these smart tips for traveling with prescription medication. You don't want your life-saving pills lost, damaged, or confiscated!
  • If travel, family, and parties are difficult or tiring--as even the most loving and wonderful family can be--get through them with some holiday stress-busting tips that will help keep you on an even keel. (Got your own tried-and-true techniques? Share them here.)

May your holidays be healthy and happy!

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