Wednesday 29 November 2023: The management and staff of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are urging the public again this year to be mindful of their mental health particularly in this holiday season. Starting on Friday evening, you will notice a soft green light illuminating the Acute Care Wing main entrance of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH).
“Green is the international colour for mental health awareness,” says BHB Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams. “It has been identified as alleviating stress and allowing healing. It’s a colour of nature and in Bermuda, is all around us. There is also significant evidence that being around nature is restorative for our mental health,” she adds.
Dr Neilson-Williams also notes: “The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many different reasons; expectations -including the expectation you should be happy, financial stress, holiday preparation, family conflict, changed weather or spending the holidays alone.
“Coming together with families can also be a source of stress, it is important to set boundaries and to avoid conflict wherever possible. Saying no to situations may actually be a positive for your mental wellness.
“Take a break from social media – constantly comparing yourself to apparent ‘picture perfect’ holidays are unhealthy and unrealistic. This can also lead to feelings of loneliness or emptiness as the expectation is we are having an amazing time all through the holidays.”
Dr Neilson-Williams suggests people try to identify things they are grateful for, that they consider volunteering or identify ways they may be able to be around others to lessen any feelings of loneliness.
“Ahead of any gift buying, set a budget within your means, to avoid January bills arriving with further stress,” she advises. “Essentially try to do things in moderation, as it can be tempting to overindulge.
“And on the green theme, please get out and about around the island,” she says. “Take a walk on one of the railways trails or in a park. You will most likely feel much calmer after doing so.”
At dusk on Friday 1 December, we will turn on the lighting as a reminder to the public to take care of their mental wellbeing,” says Acting Chief Operating Officer Preston Swan. “The lights will remain on every evening for the entire month, so as you drive along Point Finger Road, remember the green light means you should breathe deeply, pause from your hurriedness, and savour at least a moment of relaxation. It’s good for your mental health.”