Putting Mental Health First During The Holidays

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ERIE (Erie News Now) – While some look forward to the holiday season, others may dread it as we navigate another year in the pandemic. From stress on spending to supply chain shortages, it can be a lot for anyone to process.

While gathering around the table can be a joyous occasion for some, for others it can be anything but that.

Melissa Sulkowski, a license professional counselor and owner of Nurturinse said, “I think taking Covid, on top of holidays and just the uncertainty that’s brought to our lives have just amplified for people how they are coping.”

Sulkowski said during a stressful time, it’s important to take care of ourselves. “I think a lot of time with the hustle and bustle we can get lost in being aware of and reminding ourselves to slow down and again noticing and trusting what we need in order to stay healthy with ourselves and also to model that for our families”, said Sulkowski.

She went onto explain that losing a loved one can causes even more stress which is why it’s okay to step back and say no to some things and give yourself the time you need. “Really allowing your time to grieve if you’ve lost a loved one and not putting so much on yourself that it’s become unmanageable, a lot of times we cope in ways we want to manage”, said Sulkowski.

Sulkowski said that putting yourself first this is important and it can be done in many ways whether it was carving time out for yourself or seeking professional help. She said that most years, she sees new clients after January 1 and she’s proud of them for taking that first step to get the help they need. “Being able to ask for help and not being afraid to do that, I try to normalize for people that we all are human and we all have stuff we are coming into”, said Sulkowski.

Sulkowski said managing what you can and scheduling self-care are both ways to cope with feelings of uncertainty this holiday season. She also explained it’s a three step process to acknowledge what you are feeling.

First, she said to notice your feelings or emotions, then attach value and lastly communicate what you are feeling.


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