Healthy Holiday Tips from TNDC
Many families, including those living in TNDC homes, have a difficult time making ends meet, and that can be particularly difficult during the holidays, when a natural desire to celebrate, enjoy seasonal foods, and give gifts is an added burden for already strapped budgets.
TNDC is committed to providing a festive winter holiday season in our buildings for our residents: individuals, seniors, and families with children. One way we accomplish this is through partnerships with corporations. In the past, several local companies held drives to provide gifts for those living in TNDC housing. This year, we have an increased focus on creating personalized wish lists for some of our family buildings so that corporations can pay for or buy gifts, to make this winter a memorable season for everyone, no matter what holidays they celebrate.
Many of our residents have told us that they feel depressed and isolated during the holiday season. While having stable housing helps, this is still a challenging time of year for many, with the colder weather, shorter days, and unrealistic cultural expectations around family and celebrations.
One of the ways that TNDC staff helps to break down this isolation is to create a holiday environment that everyone can participate in. Our 31 buildings hold resident holiday parties in November and December. In addition to helping provide gifts, volunteers assist staff with decorating buildings and serving food at parties.
Our social workers help residents break this cycle of isolation and depression using the best practices and information available.
The advice below was published by the Mayo Clinic, and is useful for anyone
struggling through the season.
1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s okay to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
3. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
4. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
5. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
Year after year our social workers, other staff, and volunteers work hard to find ways to support people in creating new and positive patterns. Together, with our time and hearts we can make a difference in someone’s life and give them a great holiday season!