When The Holidays Are Hard, We Need Community.

Written by Lupe Nambo

"When they bring on feelings of lonliness." Graphic about Holidays are Hard.

Support systems are essential all year round, especially during the holidays if you are experiencing triggers, sadness, grief, anger, etc. Holidays can be isolating and lonely, and it doesn’t help that most conversations about mental health emphasize individual healing. The expectation of figuring out your mental health on your own can be overwhelming, isolating, daunting, and quite frankly unrealistic. 

 

We all need support and help from time to time. There is no shame in reaching out when you recognize that you are not emotionally, physically, or mentally in a good place. I am here to tell you that you do not have to navigate your mental health alone. Your mental health journey can include your community of choice, especially around the holidays when you may need extra support and care. 

 

The Importance of A Community Support System

A healthy community/ support system can

  • Help you problem solve.
  • Help you feel grounded and secure.
  • Help you stay present.
  • Support you in maintaining your mental health 
  • Can help you in creating positive memories and correcitve experiences. 

 

Having a Community/support system during the holidays creates opportunities for new rituals and traditions that feel safe, healthy, and joyful. With a healthy community, you can decide what events to participate in, listen to your social battery, and take breaks when events feel too much. With a healthy support system, you can opt out of some celebrations without feeling guilty because you know they will understand and support you.

 

Community is an integral part of mental health. We need people who can be sounding boards, hold space for us when life gets overwhelming, share resources and knowledge, or lend a hand when we need support. So, let us take a moment to reflect on your support systems/community

  • How do you feel about your current support systems?
  • Do you feel supported in your support system?
  • Who do you consider to be a part of your support system?
  • What would you like to change about your current support systems?

 

Taking time to reflect on your relationships can support you in figuring out what works for you or needs to change. 

 

If you went through the questions and struggled to answer them, that may be an insight that you may not have healthy support systems or need to expand your support networks. 

 

Don’t feel bad if you have yet to find your community. It takes time to figure out who you feel safe around and who you can be your authentic self with. 

Tips for Building Your Community Support System

Some ways to build a support system/ community are by

  • Identifying who you feel supported by and safe with
  • Attending an event or meets ups catering to your interests 
  • Explore your city and neighborhood. You can visit bookstores, coffee shops, small businesses, etc. 
  • Invite current friends to do specific things that you enjoy
  • Explore online spaces if you prefer an online community, like virtual book clubs, gaming spaces, etc.
  • Try something new local cooking class, pottery, workout, etc.

 

Be patient as you explore what community and support mean to you. It takes time to find your people. People who enjoy spending time with, who respect your boundaries, who can communicate and be flexible when planning, and who you feel safe spending time with. 

 

For additional support this holiday season, check out the Holidays are hard to resource guide. As you skim through it, I challenge you to reflect on how you can incorporate community to support you in navigating the Holidays. And if you feel safe to share, drop a comment and let us know what community means to you.

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