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Mainers stress, depression elevated during the holidays

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LCSW Lindy Graham says complicated relationships with family, financial concerns, seasonal effective disorder are contributing factors to increased holiday stress

MAINE, USA — The holidays can be a stressful time, particularly amid the on-going coronavirus pandemic.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Lindy Graham says in the past year, her business Well Space has seen a significant increase in new patient inquiries. 

“Almost every clinician i know has been flooded with potential new clients,” says Graham.

Graham says there are a number of reasons the holidays are typically challenging: complicated relationships with family members, financial concerns, the onset of the symptoms of seasonal effective disorder, and of course, we now have the pandemic.

If financial concerns are one of your worries, consider calling 2-1-1.

President and CEO of the United Way of Eastern Maine Shirar Patterson says a one of the things that 2-1-1 can do is help people with some of the burdens they’re facing such as bills, heating your home, paying for electricity or even escaping homelessness.

Patterson says “Those types of things often come with other struggles around behavioral and mental health. You want to seek assistance for whatever you can to get some of that off your plate.”

You can call on behalf of yourself or someone else and be connected to a real person from Maine for free. 

Patterson says, “We’re hearing from a lot of people who have never had to seek help before and we’re proud that we can be there to help the people of Maine get through this difficult time.”

This has felt like a long year. According to graham, people aren’t hardwired to face long periods of hardship or crisis. “It’s actually not possible to recharge when a crisis is ongoing.”

But this holiday season, she recommends taking time to check in with yourself.

Graham says, “One of the most important things that people can do for themselves is acknowledge where they actually are, acknowledge their feelings.”

She also recommends adjusting expectations. Emphasizing that this doesn’t have to be the most wonderful time of year. 

“People put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves to have a joyful experience and I think it’s more realistic hope to find some small way of experiencing something meaningful. What I also think something people can do is try to amend these plans so they still feel special. Or another option is to abandon tradition completely to create something new.”

Graham suggest checking in on loved ones–family and friends– during this holiday season to see how they’re doing.

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https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/life/holidays/stress-depression-elevated-during-the-holidays/97-31bd2d85-a76b-4211-a462-34fe6cb7023b

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