Mental Health Matters
Holiday Joy and Community Resilience
The holidays can be a joyous time filled with wonder, warm connections, and a sense of generosity. Community resilience is fostered when we take time to celebrate all that our communities offer.
Reseach supports the benefits of communual resilience through shared experiences of:
- making meaning and memories together
- rituals and celebrations
- nature appreciation
- access for all to participate
See below for just a few of the many local free or low cost events offered in the tri-county area starting in November to help families connect to their communities over the winter holidays. Check your local library, faith communities, civic groups, and city/town government for more offerings.
November Community Celebrations
- Silver Bells in the City Celebration: November 18, 2022, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Experience millions of lights, a superb electric light parade, the lighting of Michigan's official holiday tree, a community sing-along, a firefly drone light show, and fireworks.
- Peace Education Center Alternative Holiday Sale: November 18, 2022 - November 19, 2022, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
- Holiday Wreath Decorating Event at Grand Ledge Area District Library: November 19, 2022, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
- Small Business /Saturday with the Lighted Parade: Downtown Charlotte, Charlotte MI. Saturday, November 26, 2022, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
- Michigan Made Holiday Art Exhibition: November 2, 2022 - December 23, 2022 Recurring weekly on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
- Wonderland of Light at Potter Park Zoo: November 19, 2022 - December 23, 2022, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Recurring weekly on Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
- Kringle Holiday Market and Activities: November 17, 2022 - December 17, 2022. Thursday 3-7pm, Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 11am-7pm. Unique rotating vendors, community ice skating, street food and fun!
Cultivating Resilience During the Holidays
The holiday season can bring unique challenges for those who are grieving, experiencing financial hardships, in recovery, alone or without connections to social support–as well as for those who are just plain overwhelmed. Here are some tips from resilience experts to deal with holiday stress.
Build Social Support
Be proactive about finding people who are supportive to spend time with during the holidays and make plans to connect with them.
- Tri-county area support groups for those who are grieving or experiencing trauma or loss of many kinds
- Support groups for those who are struggling with specific conditions including substance use disorders.
- It is always a good idea to call ahead to see if a group is still active before showing up
Rest and Recover
Build in time to recover and relax from travel or extra activities by carving out time for rest. It’s okay to not do everything! Want a six-minute refreshing rest? Try legs up the wall as a restorative pose.
Clarify your holiday boundaries ahead of time and communicate those boundaries to family and friends. Things Mental Health Experts Suggest Saying No to During the Holidays
Consider volunteering at a local charity that helps others during the holidays. Click here to find local places to volunteer your time.
Make more realistic expectations
People who lower their overly high expectations for the holidays often find they enjoy the season more. See if you can focus on your number one priorities and let the rest go.
Keep up health routines
By all means, enjoy any time off and holiday treats. At the same time, make the holidays even sweeter by giving yourself the gift of keeping up regular routines for getting exercise, enough sleep, down time, and enjoying lots of healthy recipes full of fruits and veggies. 40 recipe ideas.
Stay Sober and Safe
Research tells us youth often get alcohol and other substances from family members and friends. Provide opportunities for youth to have fun during the holidays without substances. Here are some expert tips on the importance of talking to youth about substances.
Apps for Coping with Stress
Consider taking greater charge of your stress response with help from an app.
Personal Zen: an app developed by a neuroscientist with games designed for anxiety reduction and resilience development.
Sanvello: an app with breathing exercises, a mood tracker, and other mental health tools. The app is covered by many insurance plans.
Insight Timer: App for meditation as well as sleep, anxiety and stress support.
Calm: This app aims to help you on the "journey to a calmer mind" with many tools to get there.
Headspace: This app is often called "a gym membership for the mind” offering many guided meditation classes including hundreds of themed meditations from super short to long.
Stop, Breathe, and Think: An app for youth that teaches mindfulness and compassion through guided meditations.
MindShift: Developed by AnxietyBC, this app includes mindfulness and other anxiety coping skills for teens.
Smiling Mind: a web and app-based meditation program developed by psychologists and educators to promote mindfulness.