INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The holidays are a joyful time, but for many, the festivities bring on feelings of depression, sadness, and isolation. In fact, experts at Eskenazi Health say five percent of adults in the U.S. experience seasonal affective disorder or SAD. They say it lasts about 40 percent of the year.
There’s a coffee shop on the near east side that hopes to brew up some extra holiday spirit for those who need a cup of joy.
John Hobelman says there’s power in knowing that somebody cares, even if it’s a stranger.
“Even if you’re not in a direct relationship it is often strong enough to be able to carry someone past depression or loneliness,” said Hobelman.
Hobelman is the general manager at the Neidhammer Coffee Co. Once again, his store is opening on Christmas day to anyone who needs a place to go and someone to talk to. Last year, 150 people stopped by for free coffee and donuts and much-needed, uplifting conversation.
“They come out and share their stories,” said Hobelman, “We had college students that were stuck in town, single parents that didn’t have their children for the year, elderly folks, we had some homeless folks, and they just came in and created this little community for three hours where people just sat and talked to each other."
Mental health experts say those conversations are crucial.
“I think that’s what really vital to our human existence is to connect with people,” said Megan Hider, the Wellness Trainer at the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) brings on intense feelings of sadness and despair this time of the year.
“You might just not feel like yourself,” said Hider, “You might feel anxious, you might notice you’re feeling depressed and for some folks that might mean kind of retreating and wanting to stay at home more.”
To deal with stress and anxiety during and after the holiday season, she suggests staying active, spending time with supportive people and be willing to acknowledge your feelings.
Here are more helpful ways to deal with stress provided by Eskenazi Health:
- Keeping expectations manageable and setting realistic goals.
- Make the effort to set aside differences with friends and family members.
- Set aside holiday planning worries by scheduling specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and family, and other activities.
- Be willing to acknowledge your feelings and reach out to others.
- Doing something for someone else, such as volunteering at a shelter or wrapping an elderly person’s holiday gifts.
- Stay active and hit the gym to relieve stress and gain powerful endorphins.
- Enjoying activities that are free.
- Spending time with supportive and caring people.
- Saving time for yourself.
- Limiting alcohol consumption.
“We can feel so uplifted if we can give back and spread kindness when we ourselves feel like we’re struggling,” said Hider.
The most important advice, Hider says, don’t be afraid to reach out because there are people with a cup of coffee waiting to help.
“To me, it’s knowing what loneliness is and seeing people that had no other options realize that someone cares for them,” said Hobelman.
Neidhammer Coffee Co. will be open on Christmas from noon until 3 p.m. with free donuts, coffee, and most importantly love from their volunteers.