Holiday Stress Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Blog

Finding Calm Amid Holiday Chaos

The holiday season can be stressful for many people, despite its intention of bringing happiness and kindness. The holidays can ironically be a time where some feel most anxious on holidays. The excitement of celebrations can turn into a scary countdown, causing different emotional difficulties.

We know people might wonder, "What type of depression do I have?" while dealing with holiday stress. The holidays can amplify mental health issues like anxiety, depression (including high functioning depression), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more.

Feeling extremely sad, or finding oneself sad and crying for no reason, can indicate a mental health issue. This problem tends to worsen during the holidays. The pressure to always be happy can worsen the feeling of sadness or crying a lot during this time. This pressure suggests that there may be underlying problems.

These emotional states frequently stem from a sense of solitude that contrasts sharply with the communal festivities. As we explore these emotional landscapes, we see that they often manifest in the following ways, each requiring its own approach and understanding:

  • Anxious on Holidays: Anxiety and feeling overwhelmed can peak as the pressure to create perfect holiday experiences mounts. Innerspace Counseling understands that behind every meticulously wrapped gift and well-set table, there may lie an undercurrent of worry—about family dynamics, financial strain, or simply living up to the holiday ideal portrayed in media and culture.
  • Depression and Isolation: The joyous gatherings can also amplify feelings of isolation, prompting questions like "What kind of depression do I have?" when someone feels disconnected amidst the communal celebrations. Innerspace Counseling's mental health professionals can identify different types of depression. One type is winter blues caused by shorter days (i.e. seasonal affective disorder or SAD). Another type is sudden episodes triggered by holiday triggers.
  • Symptoms of Unresolved Trauma: For those with PTSD, the holidays can resurface symptoms without notice. During the holidays, songs, scents, or the cold can evoke past pain because trauma connects in that way. Innerspace Counseling designs treatment plans that integrate both DBT and CBT to address these complex responses.
  • Feeling of Being Alone on Holidays: During the holiday season, the feeling of being alone can be particularly pronounced. This can happen when someone is far from family, loses loved ones, or feels disconnected during social events. At Innerspace Counseling, individualized therapy can help address these feelings, offering strategies to cultivate a sense of connectedness and community.
  • Holiday Budgeting: Money concerns are another significant source of holiday stress. The societal push towards lavish celebrations can strain budgets. Innerspace Counseling promotes financial mindfulness, helping clients to set realistic budgets and identify priorities, thereby reducing the financial pressures associated with holiday spending. With our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), clients can learn to manage financial stress and have a worry-free holiday season.
  • Grief During the Holidays: For those who have lost loved ones, the holidays often serve as a stark reminder of absence, making the grieving process more acute and leading to symptoms of grief depression. Innerspace Counseling offers assistance through Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). We utilize Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) techniques such as mindfulness and emotional regulation and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques such as reframing thoughts from negative to positive. These techniques help individuals remember and find peace.

To effectively manage holiday stress and the challenges mentioned above, here are some valuable tips:

  • Embrace Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques to stay present and reduce anxiety. This can include focused breathing exercises or mindful meditation, which are core aspects of DBT.

  • Prioritize Self-Care: Make time for self-care amidst the hustle. Whether it’s a quiet moment with a book or a session with a therapist or psychiatrist, self-care is crucial.

  • Set Realistic Expectations: Align holiday plans with what’s feasible and fulfilling rather than striving for impossible goals.

  • Plan and Delegate: Manage stress by planning ahead and sharing responsibilities. Avoid taking on too much by yourself.

  • Financial Planning: Budget wisely for gifts and festivities. Innerspace Counseling’s approach encourages financial mindfulness to prevent post-holiday financial stress.

  • Foster Connections: Loneliness can be combated by reaching out to community groups or participating in holiday events, even virtually. Reaching out to friends or family for shared experiences can dispel the chill of solitude. These connections, like shared traditions or talking, uplift spirits and form a supportive circle. They help guide people in need towards helpful resources like IOP and PHP.

  • Grief Support: Acknowledge grief and seek support through friends, family, and counseling. IOP and PHP can provide structured support during tough times.

  • Manage Triggers: For those with PTSD or other mental health disorders, identify and manage holiday triggers with the help of a therapist.

  • Healthy Boundaries: It’s okay to say no. Setting boundaries is a healthy practice to prevent overcommitment and burnout.

  • Reflect and Reframe: Use CBT techniques to challenge negative thought patterns and reframe them into more positive, realistic perspectives.

By integrating these tips with the compassionate support from Innerspace Counseling, individuals can navigate through the holiday season with more ease and less stress.

Innerspace Counseling's Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) services provide comprehensive support for holiday stress, addressing both symptoms and underlying causes. Innerspace Counseling offers IOP and PHP programs with DBT and CBT to help you make positive changes in your life. Our experts can help you handle strong emotions and improve your emotional well-being. We utilize therapy and create a personalized plan to address your specific needs.

We employ DBT techniques to encourage mindfulness, develop effective coping strategies for distress, regulate emotions, and enhance relationships. We use DBT to promote mindfulness, coping with distress, regulating emotions, and improving relationships.

OurIntensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) are more than treatment options; they are beacons of hope for those grappling with mental health problems, including persistent suicidal thoughts. We blend DBT with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to construct a robust framework for healing. These therapy modalities work in concert to transform harmful thought patterns and nurture resilience.

As the holidays approach, it is crucial to acknowledge and address the mental and emotional difficulties that may arise. Innerspace Counseling helps reduce holiday stress and increase enjoyment. We do this by promoting resilience and providing a path to a peaceful and fulfilling season.