Halloween, for some, can be a time to have fun and embrace your inner child - which is great! Things such as dressing up, eating yummy treats, decorating, and more can be such a fun time! However, for those with mental health issues, it might also be a time that creates anxiety.
Those who experience things such as anxiety or paranoia can find this time to be especially trying. Imagine the things you're really scared of, appearing out of nowhere. For some, this may trigger or worsen some symptoms. On the other hand, it can also be a great time to dress up and pretend to be someone - or something - else for a night. This has been found to be great for those with anxiety, especially social anxiety.
On that note, let's take a minute to talk about costumes… Unfortunately, there are often costumes that perpetuate stereotypes and stigma around mental illness. Costumes that are 'inspired by’ mental illness are typically not done in a compassionate way. This not only furthers the stigma associated with mental health, but it can instill more fear and, for those struggling, more shame.
Okay, so with controversies out of the way. How can you make the most of Halloween? Whether you are a fan of this holiday or not, I wanted to share some ways you can have fun and look after your mental health.
- Organise something for the evening. Whether that is a night in with friends or family, having a movie night by yourself, or something else, having a plan and something to look forward to can be really helpful.
- Practise self-care! Self-care is important all days of the year, but especially during times that are a bit tough.
- Talk to someone. Talking to a professional is always a great option and can help hugely. However, it can also be beneficial to talk to your friends and family about your anxieties around spooky season.
- Know that it’s just one night and remember it’s just a costume. Halloween is just one night, and once it’s over, it’s over. All the costumes and decorations come down and are gone for another year. And, if the costumes and everything around Halloween is causing anxiety, remember, they’re just people in outfits.
Remember, if this is a time that causes anxiety, it's only one day. Once it's over, it's over! If you or someone you know are struggling, pace yourself. Once November first rolls around, Halloween is over for another year.
Voices of Hope wants you to know that you do not have to do this alone. Click here to 'find help' - it's not weak to speak!