News alert: It’s December, and we know what that means—layers of joy stirred with stress. I’m not Ebenezer Scrooge; I love Christmas, but with the season comes overused credit cards, high expectations, and loneliness.
From a mental health point of view, I have concerns for those with any mental health disorders such as phobias, depression, anxiety, or PTSD. From traveling to shopping, ordinary people seem to be operating more often with a shorter fuse than with extended patience. Overcrowding plus unexpected outbursts are hard for someone struggling with fears. Leaving the house can be a challenge, but the risk of an unpleasant or critical situation heightens when adding to that shoulder-to-shoulder people, road rage, and elevated noise levels.
Anxiety sufferers learn to make smarter choices when saying “Yes” to events causing increased heart rate, body tension, and changes in breathing. “No” is a complete sentence and needs no excuse or explanation. It takes courage to say “Yes” to what you enjoy and “No” to events causing worry and pressure. I am conscious about when and where I shop and my mode of travel. It is helpful to choose uncommon times to shop or eat in a restaurant. Pay attention to what is going on around you and keep a comfortable space between you and others. Know where to exit in case there is a disgruntled or aggressive shopper. As for me, I never attend Black-Friday events.
I’m saying, ‘know yourself and choose wisely.’
Another concern for the holidays is homeless in our communities. I don’t know about you, but I have never been without a home or food, usually have the support of friends and family, and am relatively healthy. I don’t have the experience to feel genuine empathy, but I count my blessing and certainly have overflowing sympathy. I try not to criticize or ignore. We know the homeless often suffer from mental illness, and I would guess the holidays do not provide them with increased love, joy, and happy times. As most of us stress over what we have to do and what gifts to buy, those struggling emotionally or financially see the season through different eyes.
As we look to the 24 days until Christmas, remember people with mental wellness challenges surround us, and the holidays can be tricky. Take care of yourself and get enough sleep so you can keep your kindness hat healthy and thriving—for yourself and those around you. Make wise choices for yourselves during December, and offer compassion to those less fortunate.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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