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Mercer Family Resource Center advises on mental health management during the holidays

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 5:44 PM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The upcoming winter holidays are times for being with loved ones, but sometimes these joyful holidays can highlight less than happy feelings.

“Putting yourself before family sometimes even during the holiday is okay because we want to make sure people are putting their mental health first that way, they can enjoy the holidays and enjoy the time with their family but still take care of their selves,” said Mercer Center therapist Britlynn Adame.

Preparing before family gatherings to assess potential triggers and have a plan for taking a break or leaving temporarily can ease holiday stress.

To help manage feelings of depression and anxiety, the Mercer Family Resource Center encourages people to get outdoors or spend time in sunlight and aim to get eight hours of sleep a night. They also suggest trying to meet the CDC recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.

According to Mercer Executive Director Cori Cosner-Burton, one of the most important ways to care for your mental health is to create routines or habits that can be maintained year-round.

“Eating healthy, exercising, setting up those routines so you have something to do, something to look forward to and just keeping that healthy lifestyle throughout the year,” said Adame.

As seasonal gatherings pick up, there may be opportunities to spend quality time with friends and family that haven’t been seen for significant amounts of time. When it comes to checking in on loved ones, Adame says the best course of action is to ask direct questions.

“We know our family and we know ourselves so if you notice something is a little off pay attention to that. Often times it’s easy to just avoid it or just not even pay attention to it but making sure you’re following through, following up with that person,” said Adame.

Adame emphasized the importance of checking in on loved ones even after the holidays. In the early months of the year, there is often a rise in suicide cases around the country as the “high” of the holiday season fades.

If you or someone you love have suicidal thoughts or feelings reach out to for help. The National Suicide Lifeline is 800-273-8255.

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