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The Importance of You By Alyssa Caggiano



It’s one of the most stressful times of the year for many of our WOL Bosses. Depression and anxiety peak during the holiday season for a number of reasons. Family, finances, and now COVID-19 seems to be especially overwhelming and can spark feelings of depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety are mental illnesses that are more than feeling sad or worried. Depression causes fatigue, worthlessness or guilt, loneliness, difficulty concentrating, and an overall negative outlook on yourself or others, while anxiety causes indecisiveness, fear of uncertainty, restlessness, nervousness, irritability, and a persistent sense of worry that cannot be ignored. Both are commonly experienced together and may cause suicidal ideations and thoughts. If you are feeling suicidal please call 9-1-1 or one of the resources listed below. Here are some tips on coping with both depression and anxiety:

1. Write. Writing or journaling your thoughts can help you to better interpret and understand how you’re feeling and why. There may be a trigger that causes you to feel overwhelmed with emotion, whether it is depression, anxiety, or both. Additionally, writing is beneficial in confronting thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you may not feel comfortable expressing to others, especially if it’s toward someone specific.

2. Reach out. Others may not easily observe your battle with depression or anxiety, so reaching out about how you feel helps others to help you. Whether it’s through a text, call, or in- person, explaining to someone how you feel can offer a sense of relief. In turn, whoever you reach out to can give you the support and guidance you need. It’s important to understand that you aren’t a burden in expressing how you feel.

3. Exercise. Exercising is one of the fastest ways to give a quick boost to your mood and create a sense of well-being and peace. Taking 20-30 minutes out of your day to exercise, such as taking a walk or trying yoga, clears your mind and produces endorphins and serotonin, which promote relaxation, well-being, and happiness. Meditation and deep-breathing exercises are another way to mentally bring clarity and peace while experiencing depression or anxiety.

4. Therapy. Seeking professional help through therapy is one of the most resourceful ways in coping with depressing and anxiety. Therapists are educated and trained in helping you through your own struggles. Therapy is a safe space centered for you to talk about what you wish with no judgement. Your therapist will start to personalize your treatment based on your own wants and needs regarding therapy. The best part about therapy is that it’s all about you, so you can continue even if you stop experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety.

These tips are a step in the right direction towards overcoming depression and anxiety. Although you may be overwhelmed now, things will get better with time as long as you take it day by day. Take a deep breath and know you aren’t alone.

Mental Health Resources o National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 o Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 1-800-662-4357

o Crisis Text Line: Text “HELLO” to 741741

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