by Lucas Myers
The holidays are a particularly difficult time of year for many people. The stress and pressures that surround the season can cause a spike in anxiety, stress, and low mood that can be difficult to manage alone. In order to protect yourself from becoming overwhelmed, find ways to reach out and reconnect with those who care and will help. It can be more important than ever to have a strong network of friends and family to turn to in these times. Feeling down, stressed, or anxious can make it really difficult to reach out for help. However, isolation and loneliness lower mood even more, so making time for social activities and maintaining close relationships is very important. To get started here are 10 Tips for Building Supportive Relationships.
- Call or email an old friend. You might be surprised to discover who has been waiting to hear from you.
- Talk to one person about your feelings. Your trust can strengthen your relationship.
- Have lunch or coffee with a friend. Even if you keep it light, sharing time will keep connection.
- Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly. He or she will appreciate having you reach out.
- Help someone else by volunteering. Everyone needs help sometimes; there's no better way to feel good about yourself than to help someone else.
- Go for a walk with a workout buddy. Talking is optional, exercise is always quality time.
- Meet new people with common interests by taking a class or joining a club. www.meetup.com is a great way to find people with similar interests.
- Schedule a weekly or monthly dinner. Take turns picking restaurants or preparing the meal. This can become a tradition everyone involved looks forward to.
- Invite a buddy to the movies, a concert, or a small get together. Fun activities are a great way to connect.
- Confide in a counselor, therapist, or clergy member. They are good listeners and are invested in helping you to overcome life's challenges.
Lifting the weight of a heavy or anxious mood and keeping it away can be greatly impacted by getting the support that you need. Connecting with others can help to maintain perspective and reinforce your efforts. If you are suffering, the thought of reaching out to even your closest friends and family members may seem overwhelming. You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed, or even guilty for neglecting the relationship. This is your mood talking. Remind yourself that you are not the only person to feel this way. If you saw someone you care about suffering, you would want to help. In the same way, your loved ones care about you and want to help.
Even small steps toward recovery will add up quickly. For all the energy you put into your relationships, you'll get back much more in return. Here are some final suggestions to leverage your relationships and social activities as a weapon in the fight against emotional suffering:
Even if you don't feel like it, try to keep up with social activities. When you're down or overwhelmed, it often feels easiest to retreat into your shell. It is important to remind yourself that being around other people will make you feel better.
Turn to family members and trusted friends. Share what you are going through with the people in your life that you love and trust the most. Allow yourself to accept their help and support. You may find that you have retreated from your most treasured relationships – it is these relationships that you should turn to now to get you through tough times.
Join a support group. The company of others can go a long way toward decreasing feelings of isolation. You can offer one another advice on coping, share your experiences, and provide encouragement. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a good resource for finding a support group in your area.
If your feelings of low mood, stress, or depression begin to interfere with your normal functioning and persist for an extended period, you might want to consider reaching out for professional help. If you would like to speak with a professional at The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, you may contact us at 858-354-4077 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To see a list of other mental health conditions that we specialize in, click here.
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