I haven’t been able to book a therapy appointment because there isn’t any availability. “Unfortunately, we’re at capacity at this time,” the email read. And I wasn’t surprised.
Although they didn’t go into detail, it’s not much of a shock that the holiday season is ironically stressful – and that’s just for your average gift-giving, table-decorating do-gooders. I’ll admit that even though I don’t have the money for presents, I feel pressured to buy them anyway – an issue that is far too common this time of year. What’s more – family gatherings – an anxiety trigger for even the seemingly most confident of people. And what about those without nearby family, battling depression, or the unemployed? It’s not always obvious to spot those struggling with hardship, but this holiday season, consider they may be any one of those you interact with daily.
As a society, we’ve gotten into the habit of gift-giving as a means of consideration – and don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely gesture, but sometimes a kind word can make a much longer lasting impression. “How are you feeling this holiday season?” may be a good way to open up a conversation to let someone know that you care; it might even help you to work through some of the season’s stress, too. When signing a card, make it personal, tell them why you care to wish them a happy holiday instead of a generic “Merry Christmas.” They just might hold onto that card.
Although it’s a practice we should all strive to incorporate year-round, this holiday season is an opportune time to remind ourselves to try to be a little more sensitive and empathetic to those around us; we just don’t know what others are going through, and how one small detail can make all the difference – good or bad.
And if you’re struggling yourself, you aren’t alone, even though it might feel like it. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to reach out to a friend, there’s always someone waiting on the other end of the line at 1-800-273-8255 because you deserve the support, holiday or not.