The holidays are quickly approaching. While this should be a joyful time of year, studies show that depression and anxiety symptoms increase during the holidays. One reason mental health symptoms rise during the holidays is a heightened sense of loneliness and isolation. These feelings are especially prevalent among those in inpatient treatment centers. Therefore, it is essential for drug and alcohol treatment centers to create a holiday feel for their patients to reduce stress and loneliness.
5 Ways to Create a Holiday Feel
Inpatient treatment is stressful. It can be even more stressful and isolating for your patients during the holidays. Here are five simple ways to create a holiday feel in your treatment center:
#1. Hand Out Personalized Cards
Sending cards is a tradition for many families during the holidays. A simple way to spread some holiday cheer is by handing out personalized cards to your patients. Cards are a great way to provide encouragement and show your patients you are thinking about them. For example, if your patients celebrate Christmas, handing out Christmas cards with personalized notes can create a sense of home. If you don't feel comfortable handing out holiday-specific cards, try "thank you" cards or "thinking of you" cards instead.
#2. Set Up Decorations
Treatment centers can be dreary, hospital-like places. Putting up holiday decorations can create a more homey feel. Setting out small trees, Hanukkah menorahs, wreaths, Christmas lights, and snowflakes may boost patient morale and create a festive ambiance. If you have young patients, you can try getting them involved in the decorating process by inviting them to make paper snowflakes, hang ornaments, etc. By getting your patients involved, you can decrease their sense of isolation and loneliness.
#3. Give Small Gifts
The holidays are a time for exchanging gifts. Giving gifts to your patients can help improve their mood. These gifts don't have to be expensive, nor should they be. Small gifts often mean the most, especially for people looking for a sense of home. Some gifts you could hand out include:
You could also bring in homemade foods or baked goods. Food plays an important role in family get-togethers around the holidays. Gifts and homemade foods can make your patients feel like they are part of a family during the time of year when family is at the forefront.
#4. Get to Know Your Patients
The holidays can be an isolating time for many – especially those in treatment programs. Creating personal connections with your patients can help decrease their feelings of isolation, make them feel part of a community, and instill in them a sense of hope. Getting to know your patients is as simple as having conversations with them. For example, you could ask them about their own holiday traditions, or perhaps about their favorite holiday memory. By exchanging stories with your patients, you create a bond that can make them feel more festive.
Humans need connection. Getting to know your patients personally creates a relationship that can provide light during the holidays, especially if your patients are separated from their families.
#5. Be Inclusive and Positive
Not every patient in your treatment center may celebrate Christmas. When decorating or handing out cards, don't focus only on Christmas. You need to be mindful of other holidays your patients may celebrate, such as Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Eid-Al-Fitr, etc. Using inclusive language, such as "happy holidays," can do a lot for your patients. In addition, decorating using Christmas, Hanukkah, and winter decorations can create a sense of unity. Your mood also impacts your patients. Wishing your patients "happy holidays" with a smile can put your patients in a better frame of mind.
Benefits for Patients and Employees
Creating a holiday feel in your treatment center has numerous benefits for your patients. For one, your patients will feel more engaged and connected. Second, when they're less isolated, their mental health improves. Third, your treatment is more effective if your patients' mental health improves. Consequently, your patients' future outlook is more hopeful.
Benefits for Your Employees
Your patients aren't the only ones who will benefit from the holiday feel – your employees will too. When your patients are relaxed, your employees feel more relaxed. Relaxed employees are less likely to get injured or burnt out, resulting in fewer Workers' Compensation claims. Additionally, your employees will make fewer mistakes. Fewer mistakes mean your center is less likely to face malpractice or negligence claims.
Benefits for Your Treatment Center
Fewer Workers' Compensation and malpractice claims also benefit your treatment center because it lessens your insurance risk. With less risk, you may be able to find cheaper commercial insurance coverage plans that provide optimal coverage. These plans could include property insurance, professional liability, and general liability. Additionally, you won't have to worry about significant financial hardships that could affect your employees or treatment center.
Contact Us Today
The holidays can be stressful for everyone – especially for those in drug and alcohol treatment centers. If you work at a treatment center, you understand the critical role your patients' mental health plays in their treatment. Therefore, creating a holiday feel is essential to promote effective treatment. A holiday feeling doesn't just benefit your patients, though. It also helps your employees by reducing worker's compensation claims and reducing your risk. There are other ways to reduce your risk, and Leavitt Coastal Valley can help. We understand the treatment process, and we work hard to help keep you protected. Contact us at (805) 925-8607 today to learn more about our commercial insurance options.