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Categories: Behavioral Health, Uncategorized

Tips to beat the holiday blues

Christopher Moore, Behavioral Health Consultant

For many, the holidays are the happiest time of the year and a season of joy. But it is important to remember that for others the holiday season can be synonymous with holiday blues, seasonal depression, and winter blues.

Seasonal depression or the holiday blues occurs commonly among Americans with about 14 percent of the population experiencing a change in mood during this time of year. There are several factors that can also contribute to derailing the holiday spirit, including finances, stress, grief, anxiety, poor self-care, and being overwhelmed. It is very important that we look at methods to help make the holidays festive for ourselves and those around us who may experience some hardships and there are some things that can be done to help keep the mood festive and enjoyable.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), said those with diagnosed mental health conditions should take additional coping precautions during the season and that people without a diagnosed condition can also experience symptoms associated with holiday blues. Extra stressors and expectations, not being able to be with family and friends, and increased tension are all reasons why the holiday season can be a difficult time. Seasonal factors also trigger holiday blues such as less sunlight, weather changes, diet changes, disruptions in daily routine, and overindulging in alcohol during holiday parties

NAMI and the Mayo Clinic suggest the following tips for avoiding the holiday blues:

» Seek support if you are mourning a loved one. Acknowledge your feelings.

» Get enough sleep.

» Take time to care for yourself.

» Do not isolate yourself.

» Spend time with supportive and caring people.

» Eat and drink in moderation.

» Set a budget to avoid overspending.

» Find ways to relax.

» Make a to-do-list and keep it simple.

» Set reasonable expectations for tasks and activities.

» Exercise regularly and stay active.

If symptoms continue to linger after the holidays, please seek assistance from supportive individuals or mental health professionals to help you cope more effectively and may this holiday season truly be one that is memorable, full of support, and not so stressful.

For more information regarding coping with depression and stress during the holidays, visit NAMI’s website at nami.org or the Mayo Clinic at mayoclinic.org.

Tags: holiday blues, mental health, nami

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