Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays can offer a range of emotions to family members. In the wake of COVID-19, this holiday season may also result in a struggle between returning to normal and a celebration of loved ones lost to the virus, as discussed in Thursday AdventHealth News Briefing.
Dr Luis Allen, psychiatrist and medical director of the Center for Behavioral Health at AdventHealth Orlando, and chaplain Juleun Johnson, AdventHealth’s director of ministry and mission, offered ideas and advice on how to cope with life changes in the days and weeks to come.
“Getting back to normal is not as important as getting back to being well,” Johnson said. “Physical well-being, spiritual well-being and mental well-being are all important parts of the process. This holiday season brings catharsis.
Allen suggested using the vacation reunions as a chance to find common ground with family and friends who may have experienced anxiety, grief and social tension during the global pandemic.
“It’s a happy time of year, but it’s very important to have this memory and celebration of the loved ones we have lost,” Allen said. “Despite the sorrow of the loss, you have a right to have joy.”
Allen said early intervention is important when trying to reach depressed or anxious people on vacation, especially children.
“We urgently need access to mental health for children and young adults,” he said. “People need a comforting space to talk about their feelings and be open to talking about them.”
Johnson, who cares for patients and families at several AdventHealth hospitals in central Florida, has witnessed a rise in emotions and attitudes that offers an opportunity for change through spiritual engagement. .
“We have the ability to mend broken relationships and reset them over the holidays,” Johnson said. “It’s not all black and white. By embracing gray through conversations with people who have different points of view, we can break down barriers and come together. “