Wellness Wednesday provides an opportunity to slow down during the busiest time of year

Published 11:20 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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The holiday season is a time of stress, high emotions and often, mental health struggles. A NAMI study showed that 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse. Carter County Drug Prevention wants to ensure that community members have an opportunity to take a few moments for themselves during this chaotic season.

At the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, on Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 4-6 p.m., community members of all ages are encouraged to stop by for some relaxation and self-care.

“We want to normalize the practice of and provide an opportunity for self-care to make sure that everyone prioritizes their mental health, especially during the busy holiday season,” said Jilian Reece, Executive Director of Carter County Drug Prevention.

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Activities will be offered throughout the entire library and will include:

* Chair massages with Chanelle Staats, Natural Kneads & Wellness
* Information about Reiki with Sue Bonito, Rejuvenate Sanctuary
* Art activities with CCDP Board Member Jason Stout and Youth Coalition President Emma Carpenter
* Make and take bath bombs with CCDP Youth Coalition
* Community resources for additional mental health support as needed

Families of all ages are welcome to attend together. Kids’ activities to promote self-care and stress management will also be provided in the children’s area of the library.

“This event is a time for people to just stop into the library and relax for a few minutes or a few hours,” said McKenna Marr, Youth Coalition member.

“It is really important that people know they are not alone throughout the year, but we feel like it is even more important when we are surrounded by the commotion of the holiday season.”

Library staff will also be available to assist with checking out mental health and self-care books as needed.

According to Mental Health First Aid, the holidays can be a joy-filled season, but they can also be stressful and especially challenging for those impacted by mental illness.

For individuals and families coping with mental health challenges, the holiday season can be a lonely or stressful time, filled with anxiety and/or depression. If living with a mental health condition, stress can also contribute to worsening symptoms.

Mental Health First Aid also shares these tips to help take care of mental health this holiday season.
1. Focus on what you can control. Control what you can to take care of your physical and mental health. If you are nervous about travel requirements, research them in advance so you feel more prepared. If you’re feeling stressed by the media, take a digital break for a few days.
2. Keep healthy habits. It’s important to keep healthy habits in place no matter your holiday plans. This may include going on a daily walk, getting a good night’s rest or staying hydrated. Taking care of your physical health can help stabilize your mood, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and improve long-term mental wellbeing.
3. Make time for yourself. Spending time with family or friends, especially if you have not seen them in the last few years, can be overwhelming. If you need a moment to yourself, try sneaking away to a quiet room or going for an early morning walk.
4. Create new traditions that work for you and prioritize your mental wellbeing.
5. Ask for help if you need it. If you are feeling especially sad, stressed, anxious or depressed, ask for help. Talk to someone you trust, a mental health professional or a primary care physician for guidance and support.

“We hope that community members of all ages will attend the Wellness Wednesday event,” said Reece.

“There is nothing more important than making sure the citizens of Carter County are healthy in all ways.”

The mission of Carter County Drug Prevention is to reduce substance abuse through collaborative planning, community action, and policy advocacy. For more information, visit www.cartercountydrugprevention.org.