Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Stress

As Christmas and other Holiday seasons wind down and the New Year approaches, we will be experiencing the familiar "let down" from the holiday highs and may even be feeling a bit depressed. Everyone's gifts have been opened, there are no surprises left. Family and friends have gone home and those who were able to take a brief vacation will be heading back to work. Children will be going back to school. The happy glow of sharing gifts and enjoying family time will all fade away as we settle back into our normal routines. Many of us are left feeling sad and lonely during this transition so take extra time to check in on your friends and loved ones as the holidays come to a close. Be sure to also check in on those who have lost someone close to them or who are struggling with a missing child or adult at this time. Make time to reach out to other volunteers who are working on missing children and adult cases as well.

The hustle and bustle of shopping and visiting with family and friends, and getting caught up in the festivities is supposed to be a welcome distraction from our stressful, daily grind of work and regular routines. However, it can become so busy and hectic that it is not a vacation at all but rather just adds to our stress and leaves us feeling run-down, even exhausted.

It should be an escape for those of us who spend much of our time searching for missing children. Yet, most of us do not take the holidays off from our searching. In fact, we spend even more time on line in social networking circles running down more leads and scrambling to get posters out even as we are mailing our Christmas cards.

We do this because we can't imagine what it's like for those families whose children are missing during this holiday season. Every day must be a nightmare, but Christmas has got to be especially hard because it is that magical time for children. Every child should be home for Christmas, decorating the tree, making sugar cookies and excitedly waiting to open presents from Santa. Tragically, we know all too well that many missing children will not be opening such presents this year. Yet, we hope they will be here to open them next year, and that is what we work for, that is what keeps us going.

Let us look toward the New Year and pledge to work even harder on behalf of these missing children but also look for new outlets for our stress, new ways to cope with the pressure of what we do. Talk more about it with your family, friends and colleagues. Open dialogue where you previously were reluctant to do so. Be more proactive about this very important work that we do and share your questions and concerns with others.

God Bless and Happy New Year.

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