State mental health officials are emphasizing the critical importance of Nebraskans monitoring their mental health this holiday season, especially with the added pressure of the pandemic.
Sheri Dawson, Director of the Division of Behavioral Health at Nebraska DHHS says loneliness is a strong feeling that can take place regardless of the amount of social contact.
Dawson says one of the keys is to manage expectations this holiday season, and identify those things which you do not have control over. “Many times, at this holiday time, we romanticize what a holiday celebration should be, about how perfect our relationships with family members should be,” says Dawson. “So, you should really need to manage those expectations and really embrace the imperfect, because we know that is really going to be a part of this season.”
She says with the pressures of the pandemic on top of the holidays, personal contact takes very little time, but will have a big impact. “It can be by email, but certainly getting a actual card, a drawing, a picture, a message, can mean not only a lot to the person that receives it, but certainly can help you in your health by that spirit of giving.”
Dawson also says self-care needs to be a priority, as proper sleep, exercise, and good nutrition can contribute in a positive way to your mental health.
This year’s celebrations will certainly look different than those in years past, but with a little creativity, holiday celebrations can still be meaningful this year.