Pos­i­tive Mind Change


MAU­RENE How­ell has worked in the area of men­tal health for a num­ber of years both as a vol­un­teer and in Care of the Older Per­son, Chil­dren with Dis­abil­i­ties, Adult to Adult Men­tor­ing and as Area Co-or­di­na­tor with GROW Men­tal Health in the South East Re­gion. This in­cluded work­ing with groups, com­mu­ni­ties, Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tres, Youth Ser­vices, Women’s groups and de­liv­er­ing Com­mu­nity Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­grams to many of the groups men­tioned and oth­ers.

Hav­ing learned, and con­tin­u­ing to learn a great deal about her own men­tal health also, Mau­rene is com­mit­ted to both ed­u­ca­tional and prac­ti­cal as­pects of men­tal health – which is part of our over­all well­be­ing and not some­thing sep­a­rate from it.

While gen­er­ally seen as buzzing and happy, Christ­mas is not nec­es­sar­ily the hap­pi­est time of year for every­body. In an ‘ideal world’, of course it should be. How­ever, life is not that sim­ple and many would say that life is be­com­ing more and more dif­fi­cult. To­day, peo­ple think about lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion, stress, money wor­ries, de­pres­sion and other prob­lems. Peo­ple who have jobs and may be some­what fi­nan­cially se­cure pos­si­bly don’t worry about that as­pect of their lives to the same de­gree, but that does not mean they don’t have other is­sues. Not all men­tal health prob­lems stem from the same source, but many can re­sult in the same out­come, that is, de­cline, if the prob­lem is ig­nored.

If you are feel­ing un­well, wor­ried or trou­bled, de­pressed, lonely or iso­lated you may well feel like you are be­ing left be­hind at any time, but es­pe­cially at Christ­mas. The true mean­ing of Christ­mas has, in many ways, been lost in the hus­tle and bus­tle which is the seem­ingly end­less shop­ping, the par­ties and other frills that are re­garded as sea­sonal. How­ever, peo­ple aren’t ‘sea­sonal’ and shouldn’t be for­got­ten. If you are find­ing life dif­fi­cult, think about talk­ing to some­one. If you know some­one who may be alone and in need of support maybe you could drop in for a chat. Some­times all that per­son might need is to know that some­one else is there, that they’re not alone.

If you are that per­son on their own, wor­ried and dread­ing the hol­i­days, you can do things to help your­self. Don’t wait un­til Christ­mas day to get go­ing. Find out what’s on… street the­atre, carol ser­vices, fairs. Christ­mas day is just one day but you should not put all your en­ergy into dread­ing that day… there’s another 364 to live and en­joy too.

Get in touch with fam­ily and friends and get in­volved in the real spirit of Christ­mas, which is about peo­ple more than presents. Al­ways re­mem­ber if you’re feel­ing low, you can be sure you’re not the only one. Reach­ing out to some­one in friend­ship this Christ­mas may be the best gift you could give them.

A thought: Our lives are full of choices…. choose not to be alone in dif­fi­cult times; choose chal­lenge rather than a rut. Al­ways choose the best you can be.

For more ideas on how to care for your men­tal health go to www.pos­i­tive­mind­change.ie For in­for­ma­tion on talks and work­shops in 2015, call Mau­rene on 087 7145658 or e-mail pos­i­tive­mind­change@gmail.com

Christ­mas is not nec­es­sar­ily the hap­pi­est time of year for every­body.

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