‘There’s a lot of anxiety:’ Mental health professionals detail the impacts holidays can have

Health

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Holidays prove to be a joyous time for billions worldwide. With Hanukkah happening right now and Christmas and other holidays on the way, many are excited, but that may not be the case for everyone.

A study by the National Alliance on mental illness showed that 64% of people struggling with mental health said the holidays make their conditions worse.

Overall, these are historically happier times, however, with the push coming from major retailers to buy and the possibility of being alone on the holidays, it’s not always the best experience for everyone.

“There’s a lot of anxiety right, because of that expectation to buy to consume products, get gifts,” said Dr. Loni Crumb, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor.

Billions of dollars are expected to be spent this holiday season on toys, clothes, handbags, cars, you name it. Now, doctors are making sure people are aware that although these times prove happy for many, that may not be the case for all, including loved ones around you.

“Holidays are certainly historically and traditionally a joyful time, but they can be experienced very differently by each individual,” said Crumb. “The commercialization of holidays, the spending and the traveling and things that we can easily be influenced by those things which we think brings us joy which can cause our emotions today to spiral down sometimes during these times.”

Crumb said it doesn’t have to do with just purchasing gifts.

“Loneliness is something that we’ve definitely seen an increase over the past years,” said Crumb. “Even sadness, reflecting on wow I was able to see my mom, or my grandma last holiday and I won’t be able to do that and remember the losses from COVID.”

And so, you may be wondering, how can I help those around me who may be struggling during these times. Well, it could be something simple like going on a walk, helping them eat better if that’s the case or even pulling out a board game.

“Some things that we suggest as counselors are board games. They are not a thing of the past; they are a thing of the current,” Crumb said.

She noted that really it comes down to making sure you stay in touch, showing you care even during these busy months.

“Make sure that you’re reaching out to people that may need that extra boost, may need that positive cheer in their lives. Give them a quick phone call, drop something in snail mail,” said Crumb.

Crumb explained further the commercialization of the holidays, whether it be ads or sales happening, can put a lot of stress on families. Saying it really comes down to just being with those you love and making yourself feel comfortable in whatever way that may look like for you.

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