Keep your friends in mind this holiday season

Tea Wheat, Entertainment Writer

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The holiday season is often seen as the most exciting, holly-jolly time of the year. It’s hard to imagine that this time of the year could feel any other way but happy and merry and bright. Though, for some, this time of the year is nothing but memories, tears and sadness. Even just getting out of bed can be an unbearable task, especially for your friends that may be experiencing grief or depression during this time of the year.

The holidays are extremely difficult for individuals that may have lost a loved one. It does not matter if the loss happened a month ago, a year ago or even 10 years ago, holidays are hard, and will always be some of the more difficult days that someone experiencing loss and grief will go through. There is an empty space that is clearly visible during this time of the year, and since there is such a heavy emphasis on spending time with friends and family, it is easy to focus on the friends and family that may no longer be here.

With the holidays taking place during the winter months, seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as seasonal depression, is something that many experience. According to Psychology Today, seasonal affective disorder affects over 10 million Americans each year. It is important to realize how common this is, and how unnoticed it may go in one of your friends or family members.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind your friend’s family situation. Not all individuals have a close family or an exciting or even secure home life. During this holiday season, some may go back home to families who are rude, not understanding or an overall burden on a friend’s mental state. Some go home to abusive households, or households where they can not be their true selves.

It is important to keep in mind all the different stress factors that go into the holiday season as well, even a perfectly supportive and healthy family will likely ask about achievements, college, relationships, job aspirations, etc. This is stressful for anyone that may experience and can leave many feeling overwhelmed.

So, this holiday season make sure to check in on your friends. Your grieving friends, friends that may have seasonal affective disorder, friends that don’t have the best homelife and any other friend that you may have and not know how they are doing. The best way to support a friend that is struggling is just to reach out and let them know that you care. Don’t be afraid to ask what a friend may need from you as well. It is always nice to know that someone cares.

Most importantly, though, check in on yourself. Pay attention to how you are feeling this holiday season, as you may not even realize how you are truly feeling in the fast-paced hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Take time for yourself and things that you enjoy, and make sure to reach out to others or a professional if you need additional support or help. There is always someone there that cares, you just may not know it.