Awareness of Services During the Holiday Season|
Department of Veterans Affairs
WASHINGTON -- The holidays are a traditional time of joy, laughter and sharing with family and friends. They are also a time of remembrance of past celebrations and anticipation of family gatherings.
While the holiday season is often experienced as a season for celebration and giving thanks, for many, the holidays may bring loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress. As the holidays approach, we encourage you to think about how you take care of yourself during this time. As a Veteran or a family member or caregiver for a Veteran, you are never alone; our caring professional counselors are just a phone call away at 1-800-273-8255.
Below are some tips to help you cope with the stress, anxiety and depression that can be brought on by the holiday season:
- Pace yourself: This time of year can be a joyful occasion but also hard on relationships and the pocketbook. Be aware of your financial situation, so you know what you can afford when it comes to gift-giving and travel. Plan ahead to avoid surprises.
- Plan it out: Write lists to prioritize and schedule. Writing things down often helps you to keep everything organized during a stressful and busy time.
- Take care of yourself: The holidays are for gathering with loved ones, but keep in mind it is a time for rest as well. Watch your diet and limit alcohol use whenever possible. Prioritize holiday activities and avoid those that have caused stress in the past. Most of all, stay healthy and active. For an exercise strategy, see VA’s MOVE program, www.move.va.gov.
- Be of service to others: Instead of buying something, you can provide a service for someone or volunteer your efforts as a gift. Visit a Veteran who may not have family. Help those in need by volunteering at a homeless shelter or food pantry. Do something for someone else who needs it. Focusing on others for a time and doing some good can help fight the ‘holiday blues’. For opportunities to give back to Veterans for their service, see www.volunteer.va.gov.
- Ask for help: If you continue to feel depressed, anxious or stressed, do not be afraid to seek help. Remember, our caring professional counselors are always just a phone call away at 1-800-273-8255. We also have online chat capabilities at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/Veterans/Default.aspx.
You can also call your local VA medical center to speak with your health care team. You can also contact the main social work office of the medical center to get assistance. Find your local VA medical center at http://www.va.gov/directory.