The holidays are a time for celebrating, getting together with family and friends, sharing great food, and joy. However, this is also a stressful time, with too much to do, unpredictable weather, and high expectations.
I am on the board of directors for Rose Hill Center, in Holly, Michigan, that specializes in the treatment of people with severe mental illness. Its CEO, Ben Robinson, wrote an article on holiday stress that I think can help all of us, so I am sharing some of his tips.
He notes that “people who have experienced significant losses, or who suffer from anxiety and depression can find this time of year to be very stressful, profoundly disappointing or worse. Additionally, many people also suffer from a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is brought on by the long nights, short days and gloomy weather.
“There are some strategies we can all put in place for ourselves, and also encourage others who may be suffering in silence to use, as well:
- Say no when too many events or invitations come our way
- Cancel or postpone scheduled events if inclement weather is present or forecast
- Avoid shopping during peak times when stores and roads are the most crowded
- Limit our intake of alcohol and food to our normal amount or less
- Make time to exercise, read, worship and relax
- Minimize our exposure to stressful family, social or work situations
- Be realistic about what we can expect from the Holiday Season
- Accept our natural feelings surrounding the loss of loved ones
“And most importantly: share feelings of anxiety or depression with close friends and family members – many of whom have had or are experiencing similar feelings. If needed, seek professional help from your family physician or another healthcare professional.”
I hope that these tips are helpful for you in keeping your stress level low during these holiday weeks. However, if you or someone you know needs assistance, we are fortunate that within the Henry Ford Health System we have an amazing Behavioral Health division that has many different options for care. Help is only a phone call away.
Remember that enjoying each other’s company and celebrating the season is much more important than the perfect gift or the best decorations.
As I close this final post of 2014, I want to acknowledge:
- my amazing family – my husband, Tom, my kids, Mike and Lauren; they are truly my everything,
- my outstanding Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital team – we are on an amazing journey together,
- my extended Henry Ford Health System team – We are transforming lives and communities through health and wellness – one person at a time.
- all of my friends.
May the spirit of this season fill you with joy and hope, and may the new year bring even more for all of us to celebrate!