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President and CEO, Inspira Health
While the holiday season can be a source of great joy and togetherness, it also brings increased stress, anxiety and depression for many. These feelings might be exacerbated by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have negatively impacted our health and wellness, finances, job security, and the ability to see loved ones.
If you’re feeling more overwhelmed or sad this time of year, know Inspira and our experienced team of professionals is here for you. You can find a counselor and more information about our holistic and compassionate approach to behavioral and mental health on our website. We treat adults, adolescents, children and families for counseling on a range of concerns, no matter your ability to pay. We also offer this therapy virtually through our telehealth services, so you can get the care you need from the comfort and safety of your home.
As always, for any Inspira services, please check our website (InspiraHealthNetwork.org) for updates to our visitor policy. Based on the volumes of COVID-19 patients, and other factors, all hospitals in our region follow the same color-coded visitor guidelines, issued every Thursday.
While we encourage you to reach out to us to schedule an appointment with a counselor, 1-800-INSPIRA, we’ve also put together a list of steps you can take right now to help you navigate difficult or painful emotions.
Know you’re not alone.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults, and Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the US for ages 15-44, affecting another 16.1 million. If you’re experiencing symptoms of clinical anxiety or depression, or increased worry or sadness this time of year, you are far from alone. There are millions of Americans dealing with those same challenges, and there are countless resources at Inspira and beyond to help you.
Acknowledge your feelings.
When we’re feeling upset or grieving, we often cope by pushing those feelings away, rather than confronting them head on. While it can be uncomfortable, acknowledging your feelings of sadness or worry is the first step in learning to cope. Don’t attempt to hide them just because it is the holiday season or to make others happy
Keep up with healthy habits.
We know it can seem impossible to get sleep, eat well and exercise when you’re dealing with anxiety and depression, but keeping up with these healthy habits as best as you can during a particularly stressful time can make a huge difference in your mood. Even a daily meditation or journaling session can go a long way.
Cut yourself some slack.
Dealing with mental health challenges can be an all-consuming, draining task. Be sure to treat yourself with kindness and celebrate small victories, even if it’s just getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, or calling a friend.
I’d like to now share some perspective from Joseph O’Brien, MBE, MSW, LSCW, a supervisor of the Behavioral Health outpatient program at Inspira Health Center Bridgeton. “I think that the confluence of the pandemic, the holidays and the onset of winter might prove to be a very challenging time for many of us,” said O’Brien. “When meeting new clients, I am often told that they wanted to seek help months or years ago but believed that their concerns did not warrant reaching out. I would like to remind people that all concerns all valid and reaching out is always warranted.”
For all of us, O’Brien recommends routine, routine, routine. “ We cannot control the season or the hours of daylight; so, focus on the aspects of your life that you can control: trying to sleep well, eating regularly, exercising, maintaining medications and other medical treatments, connecting to others, and engaging to meaningful activities.”
If you’re struggling with any emotional difficulties this holiday season, please reach out to us. Remember, your Inspira family is here for you.
It is a privilege and an honor to serve you and the South Jersey community. Until we may have the chance to meet, stay safe and be well.