‘Make sure that you’re not abandoning the healthy habits that you’ve incorporated into your life throughout the year.’

The holiday season has a lot of traditions. Unfortunately for a lot of people stress may be one of them. WYSO’s Jerry Kenney spoke to Julie Manuel, the clinical program manager at Kettering Behavioral Health Medical Center, to find out what you can do to alleviate that stress

Julie Manuel: Well, this is the busiest time of the year and there’s been a recent survey that has come out. And many, many folks, I think it’s like 59% of people say that the last three months of the year are the absolute most stressful time of the year. And I would agree with that because there’s so many demands that are placed on people. So, work related demands of trying to wrap up year-end stuff, trying to make sure that, all of your tasks are done before you leave for the holiday, but also, holiday stress. So, preparing for the holidays, buying gifts, cooking the meals, you and getting the family together, trying to make sure that everybody’s schedule meets up, cleaning and then entertaining and Christmas parties.

But I think that also you have to think about this year is certainly, the price of things, you know, so this has put a lot of financial stress on folks as well. The price of gas, the price of food, certainly have increased this year compared to last. And I think that’s definitely something that folks are definitely feeling the stress of this year as well.

The holidays don’t have to be perfect. It does not have to look like the Hallmark Channel Christmas holiday special at your house every year, and it doesn’t have to be just like last year. Things change, people change, traditions change, and I think just kind of making that okay is really, really important to alleviating and reducing some of the stress that people feel every year around this time of year.

Jerry Kenney: What resources are available for people at this time?

Manuel: Yes. So, there’s lots of resources available to folks that if they’re, despite their best efforts, if they’re just really feeling overwhelmed and experiencing a persistent feeling of sadness, depression, anxiety, they can reach out to Kettering Health Behavioral Medical Center. We certainly can talk them through, kind of, what is going on and if they are good candidates for our programs that are on campus.

But if it is something that you feel is more of an emergent need, you can always reach out and go to your local emergency room and there are therapists there that could talk to you, and then refer you to a more appropriate level of care.

If that is also something that is just too overwhelming, which oftentimes we do see that with folks that, especially during the holidays, is that folks just cannot pull themselves away. And I get it. You know, everybody has demands, but there is the new hotline, the 988 mental health hotline that you can reach out and will give you resources and connect you with those professionals that can help. And then also, of course, there’s the National Suicide Hotline and a Warmline through the ADAMS board in Montgomery County as well.

Kenney: Julie, is there anything else that we’ve haven’t touched on or any other information for our listeners?

Manuel: I think the most important thing to remember during the holiday season is to, you know, plan ahead and make sure that you’re not abandoning the healthy habits that you have incorporated into your life throughout the year. We see it all the time. Everyone again feels these stressful demands and these increased pressures on us during the holiday season. But making sure that you’re eating healthy and we’re as healthy as possible instead of two pieces of pie, maybe one. Getting lots of regular sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene and making sure that you’re getting in a little bit of physical activity can certainly help alleviate and reduce some of those symptoms of anxiety and depression or stress that you’re feeling during the holidays.

So just make sure that even when you’re feeling stressed, that you’re you’re taking a breather, you’re taking time, you know, to practice self-care and not to abandon any healthy habits that you’ve incorporated throughout your life to make sure that you are present and can enjoy the holidays to the fullest.

Kenney: Julie Manuel with Kettering Health. Julie, thanks so much.

Manuel: You’re welcome. Thanks, Jerry. Appreciate it.

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