By Dr. David Woo - December 23, 2022
Welcome to Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry’s Mental health in the News weekly update. Below are some current news events relating to mental health and mental health treatments.
7 Tips to Protect Your Mental Health This Holiday Season
The holiday season, although fun and exciting, can also be filled with a lot of demands and pressures. Many people may find themselves overwhelmed or with the holiday blues. Protecting your mental health during this hectic season is critical to your overall well being.
Martin Preston, founder and chief executive at Delamere, a private rehab clinic, shares seven ways you can take care of yourself during the holidays.
7 Tips For Mental Wellness
- Prioritize Yourself: The holidays are filled with social gatherings and parties. While meeting up with friends and family can be fun, it can also be draining. Preston says to make sure you take time for yourself and find a balance between hanging out with people and “me time.”
- Be Creative: Making art and doing crafts is a great way to relax and boost your mood.
- Limit Social Media: If you are finding it difficult to get into the holiday spirit or are mourning a loss, looking at social media can be difficult. According to Preston, “Taking a break from social media over Christmas may do wonders for your wellbeing.”
- Exercise: Staying in shape should be a priority during the festive season. Even a short walk outside in the fresh air will make you feel better.
- Don’t Drink Too Much: It is wise to limit how much alcohol you drink during the holidays as it can impact the chemicals in your brain that regulate your mood.
- Talk to a Loved One: If you are having a hard time, talk to a friend. Sharing your feelings with a loved one will take a weight off your shoulders.
- Give Back: Whether it is donating to a food bank or the Salvation Army, giving back to your community is a great way to boost your mental health. Preston says, “It’s the season of giving, after all.”
To read the original news article, click here.
Researchers Study the Link Between Sending Christmas Cards and Mental Health
For many, the Christmas season is a mixed bag of emotions ranging from happiness and excitement to stress and depression. In fact, research dating back to the 1950s shows that for some people depressive symptoms increase during the holiday season.
Sending Christmas Cards and Mental Health
Through the years, researchers have studied how a common Christmas tradition of sending Christmas cards is connected to mental health. The studies showed that receivers of Christmas cards experience positive emotions, but little was known about the mental health of the sender. Recently, researchers from the University of Limerick and the University of Liverpool set out to investigate the question: Is there a connection between sending Christmas cards and depressive symptoms in the sender?
In order to answer this question, researchers used data from the UK’s Understanding Society Wave 5 dataset. They analyzed over 2,400 people’s answers about sending Christmas cards and their self-reported symptoms of depression. Given that Christmas is a Christian holiday, researchers also considered whether the participant was a Christian or not when reviewing the data.
The study showed that non-depressed people are more likely to send Christmas cards than depressed people. After factoring gender, ethnicity, and religious affiliation, they found Christians who reported as being depressed were less likely to send Christmas cards compared to other religious or non-religious groups.
So, if a loved one who normally sends a Christmas card didn’t this year, it may be worth checking in on them. They may have the case of the holiday blues or experiencing symptoms of depression and would appreciate some support and holiday cheer.
College Students Are Anxious & Stressed About Going Home for the Holidays
A recent survey conducted by TimelyMD, an online higher education mental healthcare provider, showed that this holiday season almost 80% of students are experiencing the same or higher rates of stress and anxiety as compared to last year. More than 1,200 college students participated in the survey and the findings reflect a growing mental health crisis in the US.
Why Are Students Stressed?
Main sources of holiday anxiety and stress:
- Going home: About 50% of students stated that they were stressed or anxious about returning home for the holidays.
- Family: Almost 50% of students named family as the main reason for holiday stress.
- Finances: With inflation and costs at an all time high, 38% of the students named money as a stressor.
- Travel: 41% of students said traveling was a cause of stress and anxiety.
The Most Impacted Groups
LBBTQIA+ and non-binary students seem to be experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety about going home than their peers. 60% of LBTQIA+ students reported that going home was a main source of worry versus 50% of the general student population. 90% of non-binary students said they were experiencing feelings of anxiety about going home versus 55% in women and 44% in men.
Holiday Stress and Anxiety: How to Cope
In the survey, 60% of the students said they would take care of their mental health this holiday season by leaning on friends. 51% said that their family is a source of support and 38% said they were going to limit their screen time to manage their symptoms.
Seli Fakorzi, director of mental health operations at TimelyMD, suggested in a statement: “Give yourself the gift of taking care of you this holiday season. Whether that includes self-care, peer support and/or professional counseling, a mental health reset now can help you enter the new year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.”
To read the original news article, click here.