Take care of your mental health this holiday season

Dear Editor:
The holidays are often accompanied by increased busyness: plans for parties, shopping for gifts, wondering who would like what, church activities, the mounting activities and excitement of children, financial worries and burdens. Although traditionally it is a season for rejoicing, many have mixed feelings about it all.
For those with a mental illness, it can become particularly taxing. Those who have a loved one with a mental illness worry about how their loved one is coping and how they will cope amid all the activity. Taking time to focus on our own values and priorities is key when so much of the world around us is keying up, potentially threatening mental and mood stability.
Although the Greenbrier Valley group of the National Alliance on mental Illness will not be meeting in December, here are some thoughts we’d like to share:
Get your usual amount of rest and sleep; avoid alcohol and excess sweets; keep meals regular; take medications as prescribed; monitor daily activities and include those things that keep you “on Track” i.e., prayer, exercise, meditation, horseback riding, walking – stay in touch with friends who support you; ask someone else to do chores; feel free to say “no”; take time to think about your mental health and mood; it’s OK to not feel “merry” or “jolly” but if you become persistently sad or moody, seek help; ask those close to you to let you know if your behavior is getting “out of kilter.” It is common for those with a mental illness to literally not see behaviors that are early indications of active symptoms; be kind to yourself; give yourself the gift of stability. It is a gift to others also.
NAMI will meet again on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church.
Carol Jones

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