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What’s Really Lurking Off the Shoreline Tips for Managing Your Mental Health Around The Holidays The Relationship Between Birth Defects and Folic Acid What to Expect During Your First Colonoscopy Here’s What You Need to Know About Lung Nodules What You Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine's Effectiveness Healthy Recipes Nutrition Counseling Massage Therapy Medical Fitness Programs Rehabilatation and Physical Therapy Sleep Centers S.T.E.P.S. For Kids (preventing childhood obesity) Diabetes Education Tips for Managing Your Mental Health Around The Holidays For some, the holiday season brings a sense of warmth, happiness and holiday cheer. But for others, the season can bring heightened levels of anxiety and stress, and that can lead to a downward spiral for some—especially those with existing mental health conditions. “For those living with depression or anxiety, the holidays can bring a special set of challenges. Whether it be financial stress, overexertion and fatigue or the missing of a loved one, symptoms of these mental health conditions can be heightened,” says Sarah Davis, M.D., a family medicine physician with Inspira Medical Group Primary Care of Mantua. “The holidays are a time filled with parties and—frequently—overindulging. For people living with a mental health condition, it can be far too easy to slip into a substance use disorder in an attempt to alleviate anxiety, stress and other symptoms. Making matters worse, roughly 20 percent of people with a mental health condition already have a substance abuse disorder,” Davis states. Whether for yourself, or for a loved one, Dr. Davis offers the following tips for managing your mental health this holiday season… Don’t Hide Your Feelings From Yourself An important step in coping is to first acknowledge your feelings internally. Without doing so, it will be hard to take any next steps in trying to feel better during the holiday season. Once you acknowledge internally how you are feeling, it becomes easier for you to communicate these feelings to trusted and understanding individuals, as well as your primary care provider if necessary. This provides them with an opening to help you. Plan Ahead The holidays often bring schedules packed with trips to see plenty of friends and family. By carefully scheduling out your time, you can make sure you are pacing yourself at a rate of time that you are comfortable with. Take a Breather When planning your holiday season, it is important to schedule incremental breaks during each day or occasion. Stepping into another room for a quick five minute breather or stepping outside to catch up with work or other personal items can be a great way to make sure you don’t end up overwhelming yourself. Set a Budget More than $465 billion is spent during the holiday season each year, and it can be very easy to spend too much too quickly, exacerbating your anxiety. Start on the right foot by setting a budget to make sure you spend within your means, and don’t allow yourself to become overburdened with the stress of shopping for others and managing your money on-the-go. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your health this holiday season schedule an appointment with Dr. Davis or find an Inspira Primary Care physician near you by calling 1-800-INSPIRA.