By: Eileen Guo
Christmas is not about presents, trees, or stockings. Not only is there a religious meaning behind this holiday, but it’s also a time to spend with loved ones and reflect back on all the things to be grateful for.
We’ve lost a devastating amount of lives this year. It’s been a difficult time for all of us to endure through, and there are many lessons we can learn from this past year, one of them being gratitude.
One thing we cannot take for granted is our mental health; when left unchecked, we have witnessed the devastation of increased anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. In October, Japan reported more suicides in one month than all their COVID-19 deaths for the year. Most of these suicides were women. Mental health issues have disportionately impacted women and the financial toll the pandemic is taking on them is of particular concern.
We cannot wait until we’re in a crisis to pay attention to our mental health. The smallest lifestyle changes can create a big difference. Getting enough sleep, drinking water, eating healthy foods, and exercising are all ways to feel better physically, and focus on maintaining our mental health during such a chaotic time.
Though we are physically apart, it’s pertinent to maintain strong connections with friends and family. Pick up the phone, schedule a regular video chat, send handwritten notes. Everyone involved will reap the rewards that come from these meaningful connections, especially when you can’t be together in person.
Decide what matters most in your life and make those the moments that count. Right now. Being with the ones I love matters most to me, so this year we’ll create Christmas memories and deepen our connections over video chats.
Embrace each moment you have.