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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas is not necessarily the happiest time of year for everybody.