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Holiday stress: Prioritize your mental health

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:05 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - We’re entering the most wonderful—and for some—the most stressful time of the year.

A National Alliance on Mental Illness study showed 64% of people with mental illness say holidays make their conditions worse.

With the pandemic and inflation rising costs, it can be emotionally exhausting.

“I don’t have a job, I have 10 grandkids, I got bills,” said one shopper.

“A lot of gift-giving, a lot of spending money,” said another.

“Yes, it’s very stressful,” added one Charlotte shopper.

The holidays can be a lot to unpack.

Right now, experts say, inflation – fueled by supply and demand issues – is causing prices to creep up.

It can all take a toll on your mental health.

According to clinical mental health counselor Damion Harmon, “Everything is going up for sure but the overall family budget has not increased so that difference in price or that inflation causes additional stress.”

Harmon says he’s seen a spike in new clients and sessions over the holidays.

In addition to outside influences, the time can drum up grief and unresolved issues within family and friends.

“That also drives up some anxiety, a level of resentment, anger.”

Harmon says it’s important to notice the signs within yourself that something might not be right.

Be aware of your sleeping patterns and appetite.

Acknowledge what you’re feeling and reach out to a person you trust to decompress.

“From a practicality standpoint, I would definitely say, be realistic with your goals and with things you want to achieve during this holiday season and also learn to say no.”

Some people may view therapy as an added expense.

Harmon said to check with your employer because sometimes, they offer free sessions through your Employee Assistance Program (EAP Program).

Also, there are virtual health options available:

BetterHelp.com

TalkSpace.com

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