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December 7, 2017 • Headline News
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Child thinks of those far from home this season

Wanda English Burnett

Riding home from school one day Alexis Hinds, 8, heard about a group who were sending Christmas stockings to troops. She couldn’t remember what group it was, but couldn’t get the idea out of her head.

Alexis Hinds

At left, Alexis Hinds poses under a patriotic sign at her Mamaw Linda Cyrus’ s house in Osgood. Alexis takes patriotism seriously.

The third grader at Batesville Intermediate School had her work cut out for her. She has a little commute each day from her home in Holton to school, so she had some time to think about it. So, Lexie, as her family calls her, began a mission. She was going to send stockings stuffed with goodies to soldiers on her own. But, she needed a little help. She enlisted her Mamaw, Linda Cyrus, Osgood, and of course her mother, Mickie Smith and fiancé Chad Moore, Holton, and the journey began.

“My Mamaw really helped me a lot,” she said. Lexie didn’t have money to buy a lot of things so she got her mom and Chad to help as well. Cyrus, who works for Honda at Greensburg, noted that a lot of things came from workers from there and from their credit union.

Alexis Hinds supports troopsWANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Pictured right are the many goodies Alexis Hinds has accumulated to send to a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan this holiday season. She’s not afraid to step forward for the soldiers and enlisted the help of her family and others to get the items together.

Thanks to Moore, who had served in Afghanistan, they knew exactly what to pack for soldiers. They had lots of slingshots, baby wipes, movies, little candies and gum and Little Debbie snack cakes. “They will fight over those cakes,” laughed Moore. He said “Nothing is like the stuff you get from home”.

He enjoyed helping his soon-to-be step-daughter with the mission. He said the sling shots are fun, because when you come back from a mission, there’s not much to do in the down time and it takes your mind off what you just did or what you will be doing next.

“Packages from home are a huge morale booster,” he noted. All of the stuff collected by Alexis was shipped out over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. She also wrote a letter to put in with it. The packages will be going to an Army platoon of 30 men in Afghanistan. She figures they can fill their own stockings!

CMHC offers advice for less stress this season

Holiday Blues are tough reality for many

Jared Rogers

In his 1854 classic, Walden, Henry David Thoreau lamented that people lived “too fast” in the town near his wooded escape, wishing to “talk through a telegraph and ride thirty miles an hour” on the railroad. “Why should we live with such hurry?” he wondered, adding, “Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow.” It appears he was feeling a bit of stress about the situation.

If there were a time of year in the 21st century where one might observe the American people with perplexity regarding their pace of existence, the holiday season might be that time. Marathon shopping sprees, back-to-back parties and gatherings, feasts upon feasts - it is a flurried time of activity for many.
Of course, no one has bad intentions this time of year. People wish to show their love for others through the generosity of giving gifts. People wish to deepen relationships and create lasting memories by spending time with one another. We all love a hearty meal and duly express gratitude for living in a time and place that offers such abundance.

Yet, like Thoreau, all the hustle and bustle can cause great stress, and the holiday season is met with quiet dread by some. The Community Mental Health Center, Inc. (CMHC), a group of mental health professionals practicing in the southeast Indiana region, released in a statement, “Holidays can be bittersweet for many people. It’s normal to feel sadness for the loss or absence of loved ones. For some, the holidays can go beyond typical stress and can include depression and significant anxiety.”

The term “Holiday Blues” is coined for this occurrence. “Symptoms may include fatigue, tension, frustration, loneliness or isolation, sadness, or a sense of loss,” Mr. Kevin Kennedy from CMHC writes. The main difference between holiday blues and other forms of mental illness, the group reports, is that the symptoms are temporary. The holiday season also shares connection to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which, due to lack of winter light, causes some people to experience depressive symptoms in the colder months of the year.

Referring back to Walden, it is interesting to note that although Thoreau’s work is revered today, he was ridiculed and thought of as an odd man during his life. The same can be said for those dealing with mental illness today: Those who struggle are often uncomfortable talking about it, for fear of ridicule. It doesn’t help that some people without mental illness openly joke about the issues, or express skepticism that the inner anguish exists at all.

“Talking to a professional can be very helpful,” the CMHC group writes. Additionally, making a plan for the season and its activities can help one feel prepared and confident. Here, in list form, are a few suggestions:

1. Build in daily stress reducers whether it is exercise, a nap, a warm bubble bath, reading, or watching a favorite holiday movie.

2. Try to get 10-20 minutes of natural sunlight each day. Eat lunch by a window or go for a walk during the daytime.

3. Do not procrastinate when it comes to shopping. Write out a reasonable budget, and make a list of what needs to be purchased and for whom.

4. Be mindful at gatherings and do not overindulge in alcohol or food, both of which affect your health and make you feel sluggish. Never drink and drive!

5. “Remember to stay involved in order to feel the spirit of togetherness and joy of the holidays, but also remember to give yourself some time to take a break and recharge your batteries,” Mr. Kennedy writes as broad advice for the whole season.

It is important to keep watch on the holiday blues, in case they progress into a longer-term condition. Those experiencing “persistent sadness or unhappiness; lethargy; loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities; irritability; sudden change in appetite; disruption of normal sleep pattern; physical discomfort; difficulty thinking or concentrating, and thoughts of suicide or death,” are strongly encouraged to reach out for help.

CMHC offers 24-hour crisis counseling available by calling (812) 537-1302 or CMHC’s toll-free crisis hotline at 1-877-849-1248. The group operates outpatient counseling offices in Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties. More information can be found at or by calling (812) 537-1302. Their services are offered to all people without discrimination.

THOREAU WROTE: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

We all approach life from a unique perspective, and we all experience the stress of the season differently. With respect and compassion, perhaps we can help ourselves and others better enjoy what is meant to be a cheerful and heartwarming season.

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