Mental health experts give tips to avoid burnout during the holidays
According to the American Psychiatric Association, 30% of adults say they are more stressed during the holidays.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - With the holiday season swiftly approaching, mental health experts in Tennessee are offering advice for keeping yourself healthy during what can be the most stressful time of the year.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, 30% of adults say they are more stressed during the holidays. Grace Lutheran Church Senior Pastor Rich Elseroad said that he’s been helping more people deal with stress or grief during the 2023 holiday season than in years past. It’s his first Thanksgiving after the loss of his wife, and he said he has a better perspective, which he uses to help others differently.
“I heard this expression: it’s not about presents anymore, it’s about being present,” Elseroad said, adding that people need to use the season to spend time with loved ones. “That’s what I want to be; I want to be present and I know I talk to others. They need to get out there. If they get an invite, take it.”
Elseroad added that, if you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to talk to a counselor, take a moment for yourself or just go on a walk and get some exercise.
Another resource is the Mental Health Crisis Hotline, which can be reached by dialing a nationwide 988 number. Tennessee’s local number is 855; both numbers use the caller’s area code to connect them with a local center. Both services are free.
WVLT News spoke with the Helen Ross McNabb Center, which said they are receiving around 40 calls a day, mostly from young people.
“There’s so much expectations about it and I dealt with people who had seasonal depression during these times in my long ministry, but I probably never understood it as I do today,” said Elseroad, who has spent his entire career being there for others during hard times in their lives. Now, he said he is having to take his own advice, considering this is his first Thanksgiving since his wife passed away. They were married for 45 years.
“I do know now what I didn’t know before about how people grieve and I thought I knew as a pastor for so long,” said Elseroad.
The holiday seasons are filled with traditions and celebrations, gathering with family can be hard in general, but when you are by yourself it can be harder to face. Elseroad said counseling and having a healthy support system make a difference.
“Being alone after being married for so long is really difficult. It’s a difficult transition, but I have four granddaughters; they all live in town and they provide a lot of comfort to me,” Elseroad said.
He said don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and talk about your feelings, you never know who may be going through the same situation.
“As a Pastor, I would say go to all the events at your church or you’re going to be around people that’s what you need to be around people, and also I think people need to exercise it’s a wonderful medication,” said Elseroad.
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