Mental health neglected during winter holiday

Today’s To-Do List: Don’t forget the holiday decorations, presents, handle e-learning, maintain health during a pandemic and don’t overlook mental health this holiday season.

Patrice Felder, Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of private practice – Planting A Seed Therapy, LLC in Summerville, South Carolina, discussed how mental health is overlooked during the holiday season.

“We are often so caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, spending time with family and traveling that we often neglect our mental health,” Felder said. “Another important aspect of the holiday season that is often overlooked is grief.”

She said many people are grieving the loss of loved ones during the holidays and not being mindful of their mental health. She said some ways to manage mental health during the holidays is to slow down, set boundaries, avoid excessive and unnecessary spending and practice self-care.

“Self-care is extremely important all year, but especially during the holiday season,” Felder said. “Some examples of practicing self-care include, saying “no” and remembering that “no” is a complete sentence. “Setting healthy boundaries as well as being mindful of your triggers.”

These triggers can be related to memories tied to a traumatic event, anger, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and abandonment.

She said other ways self-care can be practiced is by exercising, eating healthy and drinking water. She said deep breathing and meditation are simple and easy calming strategies.

While knowing triggers and practicing self-care is important, finances and being in the midst of a pandemic is another burden on the mental health.

Felder said most Americans accrue unnecessary debt during the holidays by purchasing gifts for loved ones. People may also neglect their financial responsibility leaving them with added stress after the holiday season.

According to Western Union’s, “Global Holiday Spending Facts, Stats, and More,” the average American holiday shopper is expected to spend $1,300 by December 31.

While she cannot solve all budgeting issues with clients, she can counsel on other topics to ensure they can discuss other items privately with her.

She explained what an initial sit down is like with her.

“An initial sit down consists of an assessment in which I gather demographic, historical, medical and mental history,” Felder said. “I also spend the initial session establishing therapeutic rapport with the client and identifying goals.”

Her final tips for holiday health:

“Put yourself first,” Felder said. “Often, during the holidays we’re so busy taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves…put YOU first! You can’t pour from an empty cup!”