The holidays can be a difficult time not just for the individual, but for their families as well. When going through personal situations that can cause depression, anxiety, sadness or fear, it can sometimes reverberate throughout the family. The same applies to family members going through difficult times: it can affect you as well. These types of situations can profoundly impact everyone, especially during the holidays as we tend to see each other far more often.
For example, if someone in your family is dealing with a serious issue with substance abuse, or there has been recent death in the family and the level of grief is very high, it can be a difficult time. Regardless of what particular situation you and your family are dealing with, there are some ways that you can help and encourage your family. While the particular situation may be different from family to family, there are still several quality steps you can take towards providing them with the help and care that they need.
Offer to help them in their home and life
Sometimes the simplest gestures can make all the difference in the world. Take some time to offer to help with particular chores around the house, and help them clean up. Go run the errands for them that they’ve been meaning to go out and do. Spend time talking to them and allow a deep conversation to happen. The more you can become involved with their life and help in small ways, it can truly bless them more than you may realize.
Talk with them about depression
Depending on their particular circumstance, depression may be one of the key symptoms they are currently experiencing. Statistics state that around 1 in every 10 individuals over the age of 18 experience some form of depression, which means that over 15 million people are suffering from it. The good news is that treatment of depression is readily available and has been shown to be successful for most who reach out to a mental health facility or specialist.
In fact, you can help identify depression symptoms for family members by determining if they’ve been sad for a period of time over 2 weeks, have been experiencing a loss of appetite or been overeating instead. If they’ve talked about suicide or ideations of it, that could be another warning sign as well; even if they say they are “joking”, it would be good to just talk to them more and draw them out. A decrease in their energy and feeling constantly fatigued could also play a role as well. If you recognize symptoms such as these, you could refer them to several resources for individuals suffering from depression, such as http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression , or recommending a local mental health facility such as Peak View Behavioral Health, which offers a free and confidential screening.
We are proven to find happiness when we serve others, in many different capacities. Consider offering to serve at a food bank with them, or consider feeding the homeless or look into programs that a local house of worship may offer. If you reach out to your community organizers, you will discover many different ways to volunteer and likely find a specific one that works for you. You may also be able to bond with your family on a deeper level; even if you don’t, it is a great opportunity to come together and help those in need.
Listening is often a lost art in our modern society, and it can be a very important element when it comes to connecting with individuals. Listen to your family member about what is on their mind, be there for them, offer to help and take the time to truly listen to what they are trying to say.
No matter what is going on with your family specifically this holiday season, make sure to be there for them and help in one or several of these ways!