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Christmas in July: prepare for your mental health needs now

With back-to-school season, Halloween celebrations, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas obligations, there is little time to consider your own mental health needs during the fall and into the holiday season. Take time now to develop coping skills ahead of the holidays.

Ryan McQueen, MD, psychiatrist at Riverside Behavioral Health Center in Hampton, said that those who tend to stress during the holidays should identify their stressors ahead of time, such as cooking a big dinner, wrapping gifts, or completing holiday shopping.

“Try to prepare further in advance,” said McQueen. Preparing for these known stressors even a few weeks in advance can help.

Those who get overwhelmed in the moment while completing holiday tasks can rely on coping skills to help them significantly. Splashing cold water in your face, practicing deep breathing and stepping back from the situation are some coping tips provided by McQueen.

“Practice those in advance,” said McQueen about honing coping s...

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