Editor’s note: The following was submitted by Adventist Health, one of our local healthcare sponsors at Adventist Health Howard Memorial Hospital, and Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center, published here as a column. We have also included additional resources for those in mental health crisis at the end of this article.
While many of us enjoy the festive events, family time and hustle and bustle that comes along with the holidays, for others, the stress and pressure can be overwhelming. At Adventist Health, our community’s mental health is just as important to us as their physical and spiritual health.
Billie Wyant, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Offices understands that this time of year can be difficult for some. “The holidays can be a tough time of year. People often have a lot of expectations placed on them, which can create a lot of stress, financially and emotionally.”
While the holidays add a layer of challenges at times, some good things come out of this time of year and the current pandemic, which presents us with an opportunity to shed some light on the importance of self-care to our friends, neighbors and loved ones.
Here are some quick tips from Billie to help change our approach:
- Be kind to yourself and put personal self-care first.
- Be realistic with what you can do and offer, make time for yourself, family, and friends.
- Make sure you are doing something for yourself and not just giving to everyone else around you. This is obvious, but it can be hard to remember or do. If you are overwhelmed by spending too much time with people, take a break. If you are not spending enough time with family or friends, then reach out to them. They will be happy you did.
- Everyone experiences self-care in a different way, so take the time to identify what your self-care looks like. It could be reading, exercise, a pedicure, or a day away with your partner or children. Whatever it is, identifying it can help you to understand what will refresh you.
- Set boundaries. Be honest with yourself about how much you can give financially, emotionally, or of your time. Do not be afraid to set limits.
- Maintain your normal routine. Sticking to the normal routine can help you maintain good mental health, supporting better management of stress.
- Getting enough sleep, being active, and eating healthy not only fuels your body, but it helps with mental clarity, relaxation, and management of depressed mood and anxiety.
Billie went on to say that the one really important thing to remember in these exercises is, “We cannot make everyone happy, but we can make ourselves happy by taking time to care for ourselves first.”
If you would like other techniques to help around the holidays and during the year, our team is here to help. You don’t have to manage it alone. If you would like to make an appointment with Billie as one of our mental health providers, please call our medical offices at 707-463-7495.
If you are having a mental health crisis you can call the NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE to talk to a skilled counselor at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For veterans press 1, en español oprima el 2.
For local assistance you can call 800.555.5906 to access Mendocino County mental health services. If you are having a mental health crisis you can call Mendocino County mental health crisis line 24-7 at 855.838.0404. You can also see them at any of the three hospitals in county, or at their offices in Ukiah and Fort Bragg Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mendocino County offers a free and confidential “Warm Line” for non-crisis support. The Warm Line is available Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. by calling 1-707-472-2311 or Toll Free at 1-833-995-2510 or you can find more resources on their website.
Redwood Community Services offers a 24/7 crisis hotline for anyone in Mendocino County experiencing a mental health emergency. Call: 1-855-838-0404 or check out more resources through their website.
The Big Mental Health Elephant in the Room is, of course, COVID-19(84).
And I don’t mean “the virus.” I mean the malevolent actions of governments to wage psychological warfare on the population to achieve its socio-economic/political goals. This is normally called terrorism, but only when it’s not a government doing it.
Until COVID-19(84) ends, treating the mental health of most of us will be a pathetic Band-Aid. Like trying to put out a fire that is constantly fueled.
All we can hope to do is survive. Thrive? Not a chance, unless you’re REALLY delusional. Sadly, many across the world have not survived, either succumbing to the deceitful call of suicide, or from deaths of despair via drugs or alcohol, the latter merely vain efforts to escape the terror inflicted on humanity by “trusted experts.”