Navigating the Holidays and Mental Health

By Ashley Jarvis on December 2, 2022

While the holidays are celebrated as “the happiest time of the year,” it doesn’t always feel that way. If you, or a loved one, is struggling, the holidays can be hard. If you’re feeling alone, know that there are places in Stark County where you can turn for support and help.

The Holidays and Mental Health

Struggles with mental health and the holidays can equal extra stress. Navigating the two at the same time can be difficult. Addiction, financial issues or family conflicts also can make this time of the year harder than normal. You are not alone! Many people experience depression, anxiety and trouble making ends meet financially. And after the recent pandemic, there are even more people struggling. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the percentage of people reporting depression quadrupled after Covid-19.

Local Support Options

If you need support for handling the holidays and mental health issues, we have a list of Stark County resources.

Hopefully, it will be a comfort to know what is available in our community. Here are just a few options:

  • Mental Health Resources

Stark Help Central has a list of local mental health resources . From counseling centers to addiction recovery, Stark County facilities and trained staff are ready and willing to help those suffering with these issues. Finding a trusted counselor or the support of mental health and addiction-recovery professionals can be an important component of working toward wellness.

  • Resources to Combat Homelessness

For those who need help finding free community shelters and local housing programs, Stark Help Center has a full list. Many community organizations work toward combating hunger and homelessness during the holidays.

  • Basic Needs Assistance

If you need help with obtaining basic needs, such as cash, food or medical assistance; parenting help; job and family services and more, Stark Help Central offers a list of programs and services.

If you or a loved one is suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, grief or mental health issues, you should reach out for assistance. Struggling alone is not necessary! Through the work of dedicated individuals and organizations in our community, you can find help and support.

This is just a sampling of all the resources found at Stark Help Central. You can also contact a Stark Help Central navigator at 330.452.6000.

Self-Care Tips for the Holidays

While seeking outside help is important, it’s always advisable to take steps toward self-care. These steps might seem simple, but they can make a big difference over the long haul.

  • Try to eat healthy foods. While it’s fine to enjoy special holiday treats, by choosing to eat healthy the rest of the time, you’ll be making a good choice for your physical and mental health.
  • Make time for exercise and relaxation. Don’t plan too many events. Staying active is good for your health and can improve your mood. Even a quick walk several times a week helps.
  • Don’t feel pressured to spend money you don’t have. Pick a budget and stay within it, agree to a “no gifts” holiday celebration or offer homemade gifts. Time spent with family and friends is more important than gifts.
  • Seek out supportive groups and places to meet people. If you don’t have a supportive family or friend group, reach out and make connections. Consider joining a support group or faith organization. Connect with your neighbors. Volunteer with an organization – it’s a great way to meet people and help others.
  • Avoid any gatherings where you think there will be a temptation regarding any addictions. If you know alcohol and drugs will be present, don’t go.
  • Set family or friend conflicts aside and focus on enjoying each other’s company this holiday season. Don’t bring up subjects that usually start arguments and refuse to join conversations around those topics.

While the holidays can be hard for many people, the good news is that by taking action and reaching out for help, you can begin working toward a brighter tomorrow. Stark Help Central is one such local organization, dedicated to being a safe place to turn for support.

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