The holiday season is often portrayed as a time of the year that is exciting and beautiful. Every advertisement is filled with joy, comfort and smiles. Bulbs light up our neighborhoods and events flow through our communities. The holidays are a time when we are reunited with old friends and family members. To an outsider looking in, we wonder how anyone could be sad at a time like this.
The holiday season can be a stressful time for individuals when you break it down. Stress increases in our jobs during this time, finances get tight when we begin to shop for our families and memories of those lost resurface. All of these things combined can have an effect on us mentally.
Having a grasp on the issues that can create stress and feed into these “holiday blues” can help us better prepare for the season. Below are a few tips for individuals to use to take a step back and approach the holidays proactively.
- Set your goals for the holiday and keep your expectations simple.
- Finances can add stress, look for free activities in your town and spend only what you can afford.
- Eat healthy and exercise, even if it’s only a walk through your neighborhood.
- Live in the present, focus on the positive.
- Take care of you, it’s easy to help everyone else before you help yourself.
- Give back to your community, helping others is a great way to relieve stress. Volunteering at a homeless shelter or visit a nursing home.
- Pace yourself and don’t rush, recognize that delays occur.
- Talk about your worries and concerns with someone you trust.
Holiday blues pass with the season, but if you or someone you know have consistent feelings of sadness or depression it is important to get help. Symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Reduced or increased appetite
- Loss of interest in activities
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Feeling guilt or hopelessness
If you are experiencing these symptoms for several weeks you may be depressed. Speaking with a mental health professional or taking a mental health screening test can help you understand how well you are coping.
Northwest Health Services has a behavioral health team of experts who can help. Call us if you experience any of the symptoms of depression; we’d love to visit with you.