Dr. Gates is Talking About…Spreading Holiday Cheer

December 14, 2023

The following piece was written by Wood River Health's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jonathan Gates and published in the Westerly Sun in December 2023.

Dr. Gates is Talking

For most of us, the holidays are associated with joy, festivities, and the warmth of shared moments with loved ones. However, for some, the holiday season can be a challenging and difficult time. While many of us are immersed in the spirit of celebration, there are countless others who face emotional, financial and social hardships during this period.

Financial strain usually intensifies during the holiday season. In addition to the reduced buying power inflation has brought the last three years, the pressure to participate in gift-giving, showcasing festive decorations, and preparing elaborate feasts can be overwhelming. Thus, for some, the inability to provide the ideal holiday experience for their families can lead to feelings of guilt and disappointment.

Isolation can cast a long shadow during the holidays, magnifying the sense of loneliness for those who are separated from their families or friends. This can be especially poignant for individuals who have lost loved ones or are geographically distant from their families. The images of togetherness and merriment in the media and society at large can serve as painful reminders of the absence of meaningful connections in our lives.

John F. Kennedy once said, "If not us, who? If not now, when?" As we go about the bustle and efforts of holiday preparations, I encourage you to pause and consider how your friends and colleagues are faring this holiday season. A kind gesture, sharing your cookie exchanges with a neighbor you rarely see, and reaching out to someone by phone will brighten the day of someone experiencing the holiday blues.