The holiday season is traditionally a time of festive gatherings with friends and loved ones, gift-giving, and religious celebration. But, for many people, the holiday season is filled with stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) estimates that 3 in 5 Americans feel their mental health is negatively impacted during the holidays. Additionally, a NAMI study found that 64% of people with mental illness say the holidays make their conditions worse.
Veterans and the Holiday Season
The same is true for Veterans. Many Vets, especially older ones, may struggle with increased loneliness and isolation due to challenges getting around. Others may be battling depression, anxiety, or issues with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Younger Veterans may still be trying to adjust to civilian life, and the holidays can add to that stress. For some, the holidays may be associated with a past deployment or even survivor’s guilt.
But, there are many surprisingly simple things you can do to help brighten-up and lighten-up the holidays for Veterans in your family and your community.
Give a Veteran you know a phone call, or send them a text or email message letting them know you are thinking about them. Often, a reminder that someone cares about them can do wonders for their self-esteem and mood.
Invite a Veteran you know to coffee or lunch for some real face-to-face personal interaction. A hug. A handshake. A smile. A kind word. A question like, “How are you feeling today?” Simple things like this have incredible healing power, particularly for those who are experiencing isolation and loneliness.
Lend a Hand
Volunteer some of your time during the holidays to help out a local Veteran Service Organization like Nation’s Finest. Activities can include:
- Serving hot meals to homeless Veterans
- Collecting donations of clothing for Veterans-in-need and their families
- Delivering gifts to Veteran families
- Listening to older Veterans tell stories about their days in active duty
Giving of your time can be a powerful, restorative gift for both you and the Veterans you help.
Pay it Forward
Kindness is powerful medicine for the soul — both for the giver and the receiver. Take our Nation’s Finest “Know a Vet? Help a Vet!” pledge for 2023. Think about what you can do in the coming year to help improve the life of a Veteran you know. Then, fill out the pledge card below and return it to us. You’ll be amazed with how giving the gift of kindness improves your mental wellbeing, too.
To learn more about Nation’s Finest and the housing, mental health, employment, and case management services we provide to Veterans in need and their families, visit our website at NationsFinest.org.
Keep the goodwill going! Support our care for Veterans and make a donation today: NationsFinest.org/Donate.