When It’s The Most Difficult Time Of The Year

The holiday season is in full swing and all the movies, songs, cards, and social media posts are telling you that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But maybe it doesn’t actually feel that way… maybe you’re sitting there just trying to figure out how to put on a happy face for everyone. So, while I wish all of you wonderful readers a Happy New Year, today’s post is for those of you who may not be feeling the joy.

I know how isolating the holidays can feel when struggling through a difficult period. When I was in my 20s, I suddenly lost my only sibling to health complications. And with his birthday on January 2, I spent many holiday seasons feeling like my Thanksgiving pie came with a month-and-half long dose of steroids that amped up my usual levels of sadness, regret, and guilt. All of which I topped with fake-it-’til-I-make-it holiday cheer. It was lonely and exhausting.

The holidays just create so. Much. PRESSURE. As if you aren’t already living with enough stress. The University of Maryland Extension has recently started working with farmers to address their stress and mental health. Led by Dr. Bonnie Braun, the Farm Stress Management team conducted a survey of professionals that work with farmers and found that farmers are often relaying concerns about:

  • Finances
  • Anxiety
  • Farm Transfer Concerns
  • Burnout
  • Depression
  • Marital Difficulties
  • Alcohol Addiction
  • Drug Addiction
  • Gambling Addiction

While you may not be worrying about transferring your farm business to another operator, other stressors on the list may resonate with you. If your grief, family anxiety, marital difficulties, addiction, or the cumulative stress from all the parts of your life is starting to overwhelm you this holiday season, get help.

  • If you are in crisis, get immediate assistance by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or call 9-1-1.
  • Otherwise, check with your insurance company for a list of in-network mental health providers.
  • You can also visit our website to learn more about other counseling resources, including free counseling.
depression_Pexels-897817 Nathan Cowley
The holidays are difficult time for many reasons, including more demands and stress, high expectations, and more family time. If you were already struggling, the holidays may feel overwhelming. Don’t ignore or suck up these feelingsget help to deal with and manage them. (Photo by Nathan Cowley)

It’s important to find the right counselor for your needs. So when researching counselors or therapists, make sure they specialize in your specific issues (bereavement, marriage, trauma, etc.), or get references from family, friends, or your doctor.

If you are struggling with your finances and spent too much money on the holidays, try one of the many Money Smart resources provided on our website, including online tools, video tutorials, and background information on lots of financial management topics. You can also call your county Extension office and ask to speak with the nearest Financial Wellness Educator. It’s never too late to get your finances in order. Our resources can help you create a manageable plan for paying off debt and saving money.

And in the meantime, keep up with any healthy habits you’ve been working on. During this time of stress and anxiety, it’s important to continue eating well, exercising, getting outside, and taking care of yourself.

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