Get ‘squared away’ for the holiday season
For many, the holiday season is a time full of social connections and celebrations, but Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling understands that for some it can be the most challenging time of the year.
This is particularly the case this year, when due to COVID, family might not be able to connect the way they would normally.
That’s why Open Arms is encouraging veterans and their families to take an active role in ‘squaring away’ their mental health in the lead-up to the holidays. The concept of being ‘squared away’ is a common one in the military—whether it’s packing your kit or sorting yourself for deployment for a removal, the idea is that once you have things organised, you can then support those around you.
As Australia’s leading national provider of high quality mental health support services for Australian veterans and their families, Open Arms offers a range of services that can help veterans square away their mental health.
Recognising the additional pressures of the holiday season, here’s some information to help you stay safe and healthy.
- Drink responsibly: we drink to celebrate, socialise, commiserate or deal with stress. But drinking too much, too often, or for too long can cause problems with your health, work and relationships. If you or someone else is worried about how much you’re drinking, check out On Track with The Right Mix app or visit the ‘Drink responsibly’ page on our website.
- Eat well: this improves your mental outlook, gives you more energy and can even make it easier to manage chronic health conditions. You can improve your diet simply by: drinking enough water (try for eight glasses a day); eating whole grains, lean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables; limiting salt, sweets and unhealthy fats; keeping a range of fresh, healthy snacks to grab when you’re on the go; and eating mindfully. Visit the ‘Eat well’ page on our website.
- Stay safe at home: holidays can often highlight or create new issues at home, and COVID-related restrictions and isolation may add to the strain on relationships. If you’re in a domestic crisis or without means to pay for accommodation, the Open Arms Crisis Accommodation Program may be able to assist. While in the program, counsellors will work with you to address issues that may be contributing to an unhealthy or unsafe home life. Visit the ‘Crisis accommodation’ page on our website.
- Finances: for many, the holiday season is an expensive time of year and this can add to stress levels. A useful source of information is the ADF Financial Services website.
Importantly, remember that Open Arms is here for you 24/7 every day of the year. So if you need support or just want someone to talk to, reach out by calling 1800 011 046. The service is free and confidential and there are team members, who understand the military experience, available to answer your call.