The responsibilities we have in our lives change daily and sometimes can feel overwhelming. In response to the increased levels of employee burnout revealed during the pandemic, the City’s Human Resources Department has been heavily invested in overall wellness for employees, creating several ongoing health initiatives. The hope is that with increased education and resources, employees are empowered to have honest conversations with their supervisors and family members about their mental health and when they need to seek help.
Earlier this year, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was activated across the country. The three-digit number will make it easier for Marylanders to access 24/7 crisis prevention care and connect veterans to the Veterans Crisis Line.
The days of not talking about mental health are gone. Maintaining positive mental health is important because it allows us, as individuals, to cope with challenges and setbacks in our lives, both at work and at home.
The holidays can be a joy-filled season, but they can also be stressful and especially challenging for those impacted by mental illness. A NAMI study showed that in 64% of individuals and families coping with mental health challenges, the holiday season can be a lonely or stressful time, filled with anxiety and/or depression, making their existing conditions worse.
Continue (or seek) therapy and/or medication. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to share with your mental health professional. Whether it’s with friends, family, a counselor or a support group, airing out and talking can help. If you or someone you love is experiencing a crisis, you can:
Medication relieves the symptoms of a medical disorder. It is no more an indication of weakness than taking medication for high blood pressure. Stigmatizing the taking of medication as a weakness implies that if the patient would just get it together and work harder, medication wouldn’t be necessary. This is akin to advising someone with high blood pressure to just relax. In fact, it takes strength to recognize that you have an illness that can be helped with medication and that you need to use every tool available to take care of yourself.
McLean's Guide to Managing Mental Health Around the Holidays
...There are ways in which we can prepare ourselves and hopefully deflect some of the increased stress of the holidays. It’s important to realize that we do have more control than we think we do. However, it’s equally important to realize that even if we put these ideas into practice and continue to feel overwhelHmed or depressed, professional help is available.
We’ve identified six common issues that come up this time of year, as well as suggestions from our mental health experts for ways to address them.
Being surrounded by cheeriness can be stigmatizing when you don’t feel the same level of enthusiasm as others. The pressure to be social, happy, and present can make it difficult to speak up if you feel otherwise. You may also feel left out if your spiritual traditions aren’t the dominant ones on display this time of year.
What You Can Do About It:
If you are living with grief, loss, trauma, or loneliness, it can be easy to compare your situation to others’, which can increase feelings of loneliness or sadness.
Take time to check in with yourself and your feelings and have realistic expectations for how the holiday season will be. If you are dealing with loss or grief, gently remind yourself that as circumstances change, traditions will change as well.
What You Can Do About It
We all have our own personal history with holidays. We dream about the ways the holidays are supposed to be, which can be a dangerous perspective. We get caught up in wanting to do it all, but we can aim to set more realistic expectations for ourselves and others.
It’s very common to get caught up in the commercialization and marketing of the holidays.
We can feel stressed about spending on a strained budget or from trying to find just the right gift. Giving to others is not about spending money. And of course, what goes along with setting realistic expectations is maintaining a budget and being transparent.
In the northern hemisphere, the holidays coincide with winter’s lack of available sunlight. Less exposure to natural light can lead to new or increased symptoms of depression.
While it’s true that many of us have friends and family to connect with during the holiday season, there’s also the danger of becoming isolated. If you are predisposed to depression or anxiety, it can be especially hard to reach out to others.
What To Do About It