When dark clouds gather,
when fear sets in, remember
your light. Let it shine.
Statistics from respected sources such as the American Psychological Association and NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, show that stress, anxiety, and depression increases during the holidays. These feelings tend to linger even after the holidays are long past. This comes as no surprise to many of us.
Some of the reasons given for the short-term increase in mental illness are lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving, and family gatherings, and the wintry weather. The pandemic has also added to the level of stress. It is ironic that gift-giving and family gatherings would be a source of stress and depression when this is what we expect would help make the holidays merry and bright.
One NAMI survey shows “a tremendous need for people to reach out and watch out for each other in keeping with the spirit of the season.” This is where we can make a difference.
We can reach out to those whom we think could use a kind word, a visit, or a helping hand. Perhaps an unpopular family member, elderly or otherwise, or a coworker, or that grumpy neighbor. Even a small act can convey the most important feeling – that they matter, that someone notices, that someone cares. And those you reach out to would not be the only ones whose spirits would be uplifted by your actions, you will too. Those heartwarming commercials on television warms the cockles of our hearts if we have loving families and friends but would have the opposite effect if it reminds others of what is lacking in their lives.
Now what if you are one of those who need some holiday cheer and company? The Mayo Clinic suggests you seek out community, religious or other social events. They also recommend online communities, social media or virtual events that can offer support and companionship. Know that you are not alone and know that help is available.
Some 24/7 sources recommended by NAMI are:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-TALK (8255)
If you or someone you know is in crisis—whether they are considering suicide or not—please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects you with a crisis center in the Lifeline network closest to your location. Your call will be answered by a trained crisis worker who will listen empathetically and without judgment. The crisis worker will work to ensure that you feel safe and help identify options and information about mental health services in your area. Your call is confidential and free.
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741
Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.
Have a wonderful 2022! Let your light shine!