Resources for tough times during the holidays

What to do when the holiday blues strike

Natalie Dean | Entertainment Editor

There’s no amount of eggnog, Hallmark movies or peppermint bark that can fully cure the holiday blues. There are great parts of the holidays, don’t get me wrong. Half the fun is in buying gifts for family and friends, drinking too much hot chocolate and cozying up in bed to sleep the day away. 

The overall Christmas cheer and elaborate colorful lights around town do help ease the gloomy, cold days that have set in. There’s no denying that this year has been a whirlwind, and with everything combined, the encroaching Yuletide can sometimes feel like an emotional tsunami. The reality is that sometimes the holidays are just plain difficult, even if it can generally be a positive time. We’re only human, and everyone is just trying their best with what they’ve got. How we deal with trying times is ultimately up to us, but there are resources available to prepare for the upcoming holidays and New Year.

Financial stress and food insecurity can affect many people during their life, and extra help can be the difference between eating some nights versus not. Western has its own Food Pantry, and updates can be found on their Facebook and Instagram page, @WOUFoodPantry. 

There’s also a comprehensive list of food pantries and hunger relief organizations in Marion and Polk County that can be found at https://marionpolkfoodshare.org/get-help/. Services like these are available to anyone facing any level of food insecurity. This website lists the name of the organization, as well as their address and phone number, and their hours of operation.

There are many helplines and text services that can potentially help those who need someone to listen, talk to or get additional help. It can be extremely difficult to ask for help when needed the most, and if you or someone you love could benefit from these hotlines, don’t be afraid to just check these out. If they aren’t quite what you’re looking for, that’s okay too.

  • SAMHSA National Helpline: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can direct people to helpful resources, treatment facilities and support groups in the area at any time. Call 1-800-662-4357.
  • NEDA Helpline: National Eating Disorders Association offers confidential support for anyone coping with an eating disorder, or for concerns about disordered eating habits and actions. There’s also a chat option on their website, nationaleatingdisorders.org/. Available 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) Monday through Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Friday. For their crisis support, call 1-800-931-2237 or text ‘NEDA’ to 741741. 
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: Confidential assistance with trained professionals for people experiencing domestic violence, or questioning if they’re in an abusive relationship. There’s also an online chat on their website, thehotline.org/. Call 1-800-799-7233 or text ‘LOVEIS’ to 22522 at any time. 
  • Veteran Crisis Line: For veterans and service members in crisis, there are specially-trained VA responders available at any time. Call 1-800-273-8255 or text 838255. 
  • NSPH Hotline: National Suicide Prevention connects people to local crisis centers and offers confidential support from trained staff at any time. Call 1-800-273-8255. 

 

The holidays are stressful in general and there’s a lot going on in the world, and it’s perfectly normal to have days where you’re feeling anxious or down in the dumps. The holiday blues affect more people than we realize, but if you or someone you love is seriously struggling, please reach out to these resources and to those around you. If it is ever a true emergency, call 911. From one human being to another, just get through the day as best as you can. Acknowledge your needs for today, take care of yourself, and reach out to family and friends. Know that the sun will always rise and set, and we can try again tomorrow. 

Contact the author at ndean17@wou.edu

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