Check in on your mental health this holiday season

By Christine Sheriff, Staff Writer

We are well into the holiday season at this point. Thanksgiving has passed, and “season’s greetings!” seems to be on everything, including that coffee you get each morning. The air continues to get cooler as we approach the “most wonderful time of the year.” With all the lights and festive energy, it is hard for it not to be. This time is often spent with loved ones eating great food whilst cozied up inside. However, for others, this can be a very lonely part of the year.

Those struggling with sadness or issues in their life can find it extremely tough to make it through the three-in-one special of festivities that occurs over these few months. Instead of finding peace and joy, the holidays can bring a sense of loneliness and longing.

For some, this could be the first holiday season without a loved one at the table. For others, the holidays may not come with the most pleasant of memories. If you notice a friend or family member struggling this holiday season, try to reach out. Extend an invitation to your own gathering if you are able to. Many students who lived out-of-state may stay in town throughout this time. Every year, my family would invite one or two to our holiday events so they would not have to spend their day alone.

Although not everyone can take someone in for the holidays, perhaps try hosting a celebration among friends instead, complete with a white elephant exchange. This season can be celebrated in many different ways with ice skating, cookie decorating and cozy movie nights. Reaching out and little acts of kindness like these can bring everyone together, truly making this season merry and bright.

The holidays can also create a sense of stress and pressure for many on top of their usual school activities and work. The expected jolliness at this time can be exhausting, as well as the plethora of social gatherings. The increase in activities and expectations can disrupt usual patterns, so it is important to find healthy ways to manage this added stress. Remembering to take time for yourself is extremely important, especially now. Self-care days can be a great way to ease your mind and get refreshed. If you do not have time for a full day, try to schedule at least 15 minutes of your day for yourself to clear your head.

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As this time continues to creep up on us, try to not let the holidays become something you dread. Take a few steps to prevent unwanted stress and reach out to loved ones around you. Checking in on others and taking care of your own well-being can help bring joy and celebration this holiday season.

Christine is a junior in LAS. 

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