The holidays are a busy season for most people, especially those with kids or large families. Your schedule may be overflowing with parties, family get-togethers, work events, holiday shopping, meal preparation, and more.
Having a lot on your calendar can be good or bad for mental health. On the one hand, busyness distracts you from negative feelings or thoughts. Rumination, for instance, is a hallmark of depression. With a list of things to do and social activities, you have less time to ruminate and spiral into bad thoughts.
Holiday activities are often fun too, which means you get to do something enjoyable. This is different from staying busy with chores or work, which may only add to your stress.
Staying busy can benefit you in some ways, but it can become a damaging coping mechanism. Busyness, for some people, is a way to avoid confronting difficult emotions. If you’re always going, you don’t have to stop and deal with what’s troubling you.
The busy nature of the holidays can also challenge your mental health recovery by overwhelming you. It’s easy to get stressed out over the demands of the season. You might fear disappointing people or failing to meet all the obligations expected of you.
The busyness may also be challenging if you struggle with social anxiety or depression. Being around people can be challenging and may push back your recovery.