Tip of the Week

Hot cocoa by a crackling fire. The sounds of family and friends’ laughter heard throughout the house. Your favorite holiday movies on the television. This is the idyllic holiday scene. But what’s the reality? Statistics show us that the holiday season, portrayed as the most wonderful time of year, can also be a time when a few uninvited guests come knocking— stress, anxiety and depression.

If this sounds familiar, then you are one of the millions of people who experience holiday-triggered anxiety. One in five adult Americans already struggle with mental health disorders daily, and during the holiday season 64 percent of people with mental illness report that their conditions worsen, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Even people in warm-weather states like Florida, California and Texas can experience seasonal mental health issues around the holidays.

Why do so many people experience holiday-related anxiety? For starters, the emphasis on family time and togetherness can act as a constant and painful reminder that our lives may not look like joyful holiday cards — putting family conflict, loss, breakups and divorce under a microscope. The stress and anxiety of being confronted with family events, combined with travel, darker and colder days, unusually packed schedules, and lack of sleep can trigger behavioral health issues. Also, when busy and/or traveling, it’s common for people to deprioritize their physical and mental health.

But this doesn’t have to be your reality. You can give yourself the gift of telehealth! Many people, through their health plans, have access to virtual visits with licensed therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists — making it possible to manage mental health and enjoy the busy holiday season. Telehealth makes it possible to access quality care, 24/7, anywhere you have a smartphone or the web.

“A combined 58 million American adults are living with either major depression (16M) or an anxiety disorder (42M), but in my experience, 100 percent of people will experience a stressor, or a loved one will need support, during the holiday season,” says Dr. Monika Roots, vice president of health services at Teladoc, the world’s largest and most trusted provider of virtual care delivery services. “One of the reasons I’m an advocate of telehealth for mental health is that it allows people to access care upon feeling triggered, not waiting weeks to get an appointment. After your aunt asks you why you’re single at the dinner table, for example, you can talk to someone immediately, making it easier to proactively manage stressors before they become major issues.”

How else can you help yourself or a loved one maintain positive mental health during the holidays? We asked Teladoc’s Dr. Roots for the top five ways to mitigate holiday-triggered anxiety. Here’s what she said:

1. Set boundaries. If you are overwhelmed by family, friends or work commitments, take quality time for yourself. A long walk or designated time unplugged from work or social interactions will help clear your mind.

2. Ask for help. If you need to talk to someone, don’t hesitate to get care. If you are away from your therapist or psychologist/psychiatrist, telehealth services are available by phone, web or mobile app.

3. Stick to a routine. If you are traveling, try to wake up, eat and go to bed at the same time as you normally would at home. Keeping an organized, regular schedule will help mitigate stress and anxiety.

4. Exercise. Maintaining physical health is key to maintaining mental health. Anything counts, even a walk around the mall while shopping!

5. Get some sleep: Try to log 7-9 hours a night. This will help improve mental focus and overall mood.

To learn more about Teladoc and telehealth’s role in mitigating holiday stress and anxiety, visit Teladoc.com/therapy.

— Brandpoint

Family Movie Night

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Rated: PG-13

Length: 119 minutes

Synopsis: Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.

Book Report

Be Brave, Little Penguin

Ages: 3 - 5 years

Pages: 32

Synopsis: Little Penguin Pip-Pip would love to join in with all his friends swimming in the sea, but there’s just one problem . . . he’s scared of water. Can Pip-Pip overcome his fears and finally take the plunge? This irresistible story shows that sometimes all it takes is a little bit of encouragement -- and a whole lot of heart -- to finally make that leap and be BRAVE!

— Orchard Books

Did You Know

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many children get toys and toy jewelry as gifts during the holiday season but some of those gifts may contain lead hazards. Unfortunately, lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell and the only way to know whether it is in a toy is to have that object tested by a certified laboratory. Therefore to avoid potentially lead tainted toys, parents should know that toys imported into the United States and antique toys and collectibles often contain lead. To be sure your child’s toys are safe, check the Consumer Products Safety Commission list of recalled toys. Learn more at the CDC Lead website: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

— More Content Now