Breaking the Silence

Website for the American Mental Health Counselors Association's Breaking the Silence initiative to address mental health stigma.

Winter (and holiday stress) is coming.

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By contributing blogger Dr. Hope Threadgill

November signals the end of Fall and the coming of Winter. The leaves have fallen off the trees. This is a time when people store up their harvest and prepare for winter. Families get together for reunions and celebrations.

We recognize a number of events in November: Veterans Day on the 11th, World Diabetes Day on November 14th, Thanksgiving on the 24th, American Indian Heritage Month, Good Nutrition Month, Aviation Month, American Diabetes Awareness Month, National Stamp Collecting Month, National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month, National Bullying Prevention Month, and Epilepsy Awareness Month. The third Thursday is the Great American Smoke-out where all smokers are encouraged by the American Cancer Society to stop smoking. All Saint’s Day is the first day of November and All Souls Day on the 2nd for some Christian churches. Daylight savings time starts on November 6th. Elections occur on November 8th. Football in the United Stated is watched and enjoyed by many. Travel is increasing by many Americans so safety around the holidays becomes a factor for law enforcement and other health care service providers. To find more events for November check out your local news media events. Another site: .

Clinical mental health counselors start to become busier in their practices. Crisis lines, mental health centers, hospitals, and clinicians receive calls for services due to the full moon occurring on the 14th of November. This is not a myth. If you have ever worked a crisis line or ER you will understand the concern. Appointments increase both during and right after major holidays due to the stress people experience from being with family and friends.

Everyone has stressors during the season while spending time with family and friends. Realize stress does not have to be negative. It can be positive stress that occurs from lots of changes. Stress affects everyone. So please make a point to take good care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. Be more mindful and kind to yourself. Realize you have choices. Pay attention to your true priorities. Use your curiosity, explore and connect with family and friends for support. Slow down, find pleasure in your life. Accept aspects of your situation you cannot change. Protect yourself. In general, research shows when we prioritize our brains, bodies and spirits, we feel and do better. Get active through walk, run, yoga, stretch, i.e. move and avoid the sitting disease. Eat healthy and regular meals. Sleep restfully for 7-11 hours to have healthier mood, memory, focus and well-being. Get off the grid and smell the flowers or frolic in nature. Know your boundaries while keeping your compassion. Go with the ‘ebb and flow.’ Know when it is time for a change. Take a vacation or some time off. Practice mindfulness on a daily basis. Remember your spiritual connection.

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