by Ivan Hess
Over fifty years after its release, the enduringly popular Christmas standard, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” continues to charm listeners by capturing the spirit of the holiday season and its pervasive feelings of joy, hope, and peace.
For many San Francisco Bay Area employees, the forthcoming weeks are anything but wonderful. Instead, we suffer through long, last-minute lines in supermarkets and shopping malls, as our holiday fervor reaches a fever-pitch. We acquiesce to the end-of-the-year demands of our employers, hoping that the New Year doesn’t hold layoffs in uncertain times. Some of us negotiate the stresses caused by the presence of our immediate and extended families -- and for those of us without families, we cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation.
And we often do what is necessary if we can: we disguise our darkest feelings -- anxiety, stress, malaise, and depression-- with superficial cheer, the artifice of material gifts, and other distractions from our deepest feelings.
However, those experiencing the ‘Holiday Blues’ are hardly alone in their struggles. Depression affects 16 million Americans annually and 75% of adults report experiencing moderate-to-high levels of stress on an ongoing basis. Depression is also the leading cause of disability. Both stress and depression can be particularly brutal during the Holiday Season, as noted by the Mayo Clinic, and 64 percent of people say their mental health stress level increases exponentially around this time of year.
Our December 13th event is aimed at helping folks for whom the holidays are the worst of times. Hosted by WeWork and organized by the ADAA (American Depression and Anxiety Association), NAMI-SF (National Alliance on Mental Illness-San Francisco), WeWork and Meru Health. Hosted by WeWork Transbay (San Francisco). Free. Reserve a seat.