Sioux City, Iowa (KTIV) — It is the holiday season and sometimes, what should be a joyous time is not the case for everyone.
A local mental health professional gives us some positive ways to get through the holidays, often a difficult time for some people, especially those with anxiety or depression.
For some insight, we turned to Jan Pingel, a Mental Health Therapist and Substance Abuse Counselor at the Seasons Center For Behavioral Health.
Question: How can we best support a loved one during the holidays?
“Well, if we see someone struggling, I think the most important thing is to reach out,” she said. “Often with depression, people will isolate and will pull away. And so we need to draw them into activities, just into communication, stay connected to them. And I think the most important thing we can do for them is listen and affirm whatever they are feeling and let them know that someone is there who will help and be there for them.”
Question: This year with COVID-19, people are feeling extra isolated and lonely. What are some suggestions so we don’t feel so alone this holiday season?
“Be aware of our friends and neighbors and reach out to them,” said Pingel. “For those who are struggling, it’s really important to keep the perspective that this is a really tough year for everyone. But we will get through it, and to recognize that even if we don’t see family and friends this year, we will next year. If you put it in perspective, any of our military and other families go through this thing regularly and we can get through it if we work together. For those struggling with depression, to really be focused on self care. To get out, to touch base with family, reach out through social media, get out and exercise, do something for other people. A lot of times we can reframe our attitude with focusing on gratitude, focusing on what we can appreciate and what we do have positive in our lives. And keep that perspective.”