This year is just speeding by, isn’t it? We’re somehow approaching the holiday season again, and so we want to pause to express gratitude to each of you reading this newsletter. Whether you’ve been here since the beginning or this is your first time finding our letter in your inbox, taking this moment to be thoughtful about how you can support your mental health and wellness is a big deal. We’re so glad you’re a part of our community. We couldn’t do this without you.
Maybe during this time of year, you’re thinking about your own community. The holidays are a good time of year to tap into and strengthen your networks of support and family – whether that is given or chosen family. And strengthening bonds can often start with having honest conversations. So this month we want to discuss talking to your loved ones about your mental health…if you’re headed home for the holidays and thinking of having some candid conversations about mental health with your people, here are some things to remember:
- Write it down: Think about what you want your loved ones to know. It can help to take some notes, write a letter, or even write a short script for the conversation itself. Doing this ahead of time will help you be prepared, give you time to research, and is a kind way to support yourself in being as clear as you can be.
- Pick the right time: When it comes to sensitive conversations, it’s important to create the conditions for a respectful and productive discourse with your loved ones. That can take a little planning! Visualize the ideal conversation ahead of time. Would you like to be in public or private? Is there a time when you won’t be rushed or a time when stress will be at a minimum? Who would you like to have present? What items or conditions might support you and your loved ones to have authentic conversations?
- Set and respect boundaries: Just because you decide to disclose something about your mental health to your family doesn’t mean you need to tell them everything. You get to decide what you speak about and what you don’t. On the other side, it’s important to respect others’ boundaries around when they can talk and about what topics. These tips can help you get started.
- Ask for (or offer) concrete help: If you’re asking for support, try making a list of what you need and what you’re able to give beforehand. When loved ones ask how they can help, you will have clear options for them. Could you use help with childcare while you go to therapy? Maybe you’re able to offer someone transportation or make them a meal occasionally. Get clear on how people can help and how you might be able to support others.
And before we go, we have one final tip: diversify your support options. Having a robust support network can go such a long way toward supporting your mental health journey. So keep your group chat at the ready, join a support group, set up time with a therapist, and remember that as we head into the holiday season, we are just a call away. Reach out to 844-YOU-OKAY for our free, confidential support line for Hillsborough County. We can help you find local resources to support you at any stage of your journey.
We’re so grateful to be a part of your path and we’d love to hear how your conversations go and any helpful tips you have to share with our community. Reach out to us on Instagram or send us an email!
We’ll see you next month,
Your Team at Tampa Bay Thrives