BY REBEKAH REED
The Holiday season is a time when many people get excited about decorations, family, and delicious food. People’s spirits seem to be merrier the closer the holiday gets. But, sometimes, the excitement causes individuals to overlook the reality for many people during this time.
Jessica Albin, a counselor at FHSU, says many people struggle with grief, disappointment from unrealistic expectations, or comparing holiday experiences during the holiday season. Whatever the cause may be, there are resources to help address difficult holiday times in a healthy way. Albin said a common difficulty for college students is returning home.
“It’s important to prevent students who have grown [at college] from backsliding mentally and socially,” Albin said. “Students gain independence in college, but then they go home where that independence may be hindered.”
Albin offers some tips before returning home to discuss with your family, including expectations about time together, rules, staying out late, etc. She says to be respectful of the fact you are returning to your parent’s home as they may view you as a guest and expect you to act accordingly.
If this season is difficult, there are behavioral changes to be aware of that may indicate mental health concerns, like not responding to situations at home in the way you usually would, isolating yourself at home, or encountering feelings of loneliness.
“The most important thing I would encourage students with is to talk about it to somebody who cares,” Albin said. “Do not keep it inside, and make a plan on how to take care of yourself. And while you’re on break, still have some type of schedule to keep some structure to your day.”
FHSU has resources like personal counseling that will provide ways to handle any concern or issue. The Health and Wellness Center on the third floor of Fischli Wells will be open all Winter break (regular business hours) except Dec. 24th – Jan 2nd. The best way to make an appointment with an FHSU Counselor is by calling 785-628-4401.
However, many students do leave Hays, which is why these resources are also available online. Any student living in the state of Kansas that is home for the holidays and needs to talk to someone can make Zoom appointments with FHSU counselors. Another resource is TigerThrive on Blackboard, which has exercises and tips to address these problems.