Hi there,

I‘m Lindsay Wright, and I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist serving as one of the Behavioral Health Counselors at the Telluride Medical Center. As we head into the holiday season, I wanted to check-in with our community. How are you doing? No, really… How are you? It’s been a difficult year, filled with grief and loss, both nationally and immediately within our community. The holidays tend to be a time that we associate with joy, spirit and connection, but this is not necessarily what we all experience.

For some of us, this may be the first holiday without a loved one. For others, this time of year may serve up the unpleasant family dynamics that existed within your childhood home. You may even be visiting family members that push your buttons and your boundaries. It can be hard to see just how many of us have a complex relationship with the holidays, through the cheery picture we’ve collectively painted, but in reality, studies done by the National Alliance on Mental Illness report that 64 percent of folks experience worsening mental health during the holiday season.

So how can we get through this stressful time in one piece? First, check-in with yourself. Take time to ask yourself what you need, what your boundaries are, and what you can accommodate for others. Acknowledge what you are feeling and take inventory of what may be helpful or harmful to your mental health. Don’t pass judgement on your emotions, or try to invalidate them. You feel the way you feel, and that’s okay.

Does the idea of shopping for gifts give you anxiety? You can skip it, or potentially delegate the task to others. Does baking Christmas cookies bring up a cozy feeling of nostalgia? Make sure to prioritize the traditions and activities that bring you joy. Are you certain that your family members will try to pull you into their arguments over dinner? Set a clear boundary about what conversations you are willing to engage in and which ones you are not. While others may experience disappointment in response to boundaries set or activities that you opt out of, we must prioritize our own mental health and well-being.

If you are finding that this year’s holiday season is difficult for you, please be mindful to take extra good care of yourself. Some ideas for positive self-care during the holidays may include expressing your feelings to someone in your support system, ensuring that you are well-fed and well-rested and engage in physical movement and activities that encourage relaxation.

If these symptoms do not go away or continue to get worse, please reach out to your primary care physician. We all experience difficulties in coping from time to time, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support. I can be reached by calling the Telluride Medical Center at 970-728-3848, or if you are patient of Telluride Medical Center, by messaging me through the Telluride Medical Center portal.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please reach out to the San Miguel County Mental Health Co-Responder, by calling the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 970-728-1911 and requesting support. Be well.