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Tips for mental wellbeing this holiday season

Tips for mental wellbeing this holiday season

Some time ago I wrote about what my thoughts were concerning suicide in our youth and school shootings. There were eight points that I made with several pointing out our disengaged relationships with our kids, and social media and electronic gaming saturation.

With the holidays coming quickly at us I thought I might revisit some of the points made in that prior blog and give some more suggestions.

The holidays are for family and friends to come together and share. That sharing can come in the form of gifts, food, favors and your time. It is my belief that your time is most valuable. If we give a gift of time it shows our kids, family and friends that they are important to us. Everyone wants to feel important. Do not invite people into your world only to have your or their noses stuck in a game, phone, or internet device. Not only would that be rude, but it also teaches our children that other people need attention, as do they, and that time spent together can have a very positive effect.

I talked about spirituality in the past. This time of year has several opportunities to praise and worship together. In my youth my family and I had a couple wonderful rituals that still stick with me several decades later. Develop person-to-person rituals with your children—like attending midnight service, one gift on Christmas Eve, relatives over for Thanksgiving, and the like. Not only will they grow to look forward to these events but they will grow spiritually and remember these times fondly. I mentioned before that I am Christian and have been since I can remember. Many other spiritual systems also celebrate during the coming months, and science has shown that prayer and meditation have profound positive effects on ones wellbeing.

We spend an awful lot on electronics for our kids. This does not even count stuff they already have. Limit their time on these devices, not only during the holidays but from then on. It’s not good for kids to have their noses stuck in a device, ignoring everything around them, and science has shown that these devices or games can interfere with sleep, desensitize, and disallow the recharging they need from texting, e-mailing, snap chatting, Facebook, etc.

Our children are important and we can impact the way they grow and survive a world that is getting more and more tenuous. We cannot make it more complicated by allowing the electronics, isolation, dysfunction and lack of spirituality to determine their or our fate because we buy into the thought that our society is advancing.

The tragic suicides and shootings would suggest that the advancement touted in the media is not worth the cost to our families.

Jeff Rice is the director of Campbell County Health Behavioral Health Services at Campbell County Memorial Hospital. Behavioral Health Services provides the Northeastern Wyoming community with compassionate, confidential and comprehensive treatment of behavioral disorders, mental illness and substance abuse treatment following detox. Appointments are available Monday–Friday from 8 am–5 pm. Call 307.688.5000 or visit www.cchwyo.org/BHS.