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Holiday stressors can hit hard, so know simple steps to preserve mental wellbeing

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Mental health specialists say there are many stressors hitting people hard this holiday season.

People can have a lot of expectations over the holidays. Especially this year --as it feels like things might be getting back to a pre-pandemic normal. Therapists say the pressure to have the “hallmark experience” can overwhelm. There are some practical steps to help maintain mental wellbeing this season.

People can have a lot of expectations over the holidays. Especially this year --as it feels like things might be getting back to a pre-pandemic normal. Therapists say the pressure to have the “hallmark experience” can overwhelm. There are some practical steps to help maintain mental wellbeing this season.

Nasim May is clinical manager for the Center for Community Counseling in Eugene. She and her colleagues cite finances, politics, and relationship issues among the stressors hitting people hard this holiday season.

“A rise in some of the symptoms of anxiety and depression, of people’s trauma getting re-triggered,” she said. “Some of the grief and loss that they’ve experienced over the last couple of years really coming into play.”

To avoid mental pitfalls, May said know your strengths and challenges. For example, disordered eating or drinking can be lessened by the way a get-together is designed. If family events trigger past trauma, May suggested taking a walk and abdominal breathing. She added, obligation is a major stressor and just saying “no thank you” can be a healthy coping mechanism.

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Nasim-Talebreza May
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Nasim May is clinical manager for the Center for Community Counseling in Eugene.

Talking about feelings to a trusted loved one- and listening to them in return- can be a great stress reliever. And there is also professional mental help out there. May said, just as we would see a doctor if we were coming down with symptoms of flu or RSV, it is helpful to reach out to a therapist to find out more ways to address issues affecting our mental health.

The Center for Community Counseling focuses on providing mental health services to those who are uninsured or underinsured. CCC can also provide referrals for people with private insurance or Medicaid/Medicare by calling 541-344-0620.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.