Tips for Surviving the Holiday Blues
WILL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
The holidays are often viewed as a time of happiness and cheerfulness. But for some, the holiday season can evoke feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety, often simplified as the holiday blues.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 64% of people with an existing mental illness feel worse during the holiday season. In addition to talking with your doctor or a mental health professional, there are several things that can be done on your own to alleviate some of the holiday blues according to Dr. Joe Troiani, Will County Health Department’s Director of Behavioral Health.
“Holidays can easily be noted for some negative and sad memories,” said Troiani. “But it’s also a time to make some new memories and there are some things everyone can do to make things a little easier.”
Engage in an activity that’s relaxing and rewarding.
“Finding time to reflect and unwind during a busy holiday season is key,” said Troiani. “You need to make sure you’re not getting too busy. Find an activity that’s relaxing and dedicate some time for it.”
Give back or volunteer when able to.
“A lot of people feel good about themselves when they’re able to give back,” said Troiani. “There are many ways you can contribute or volunteer. Embracing the spirit of generosity and helping those that are less fortunate than you often allow you to see things in a different light.”
“Excessive alcohol consumption and overeating have a tendency to just ramp up negative feelings and depression,” said Troiani. “It’s important to drink in moderation and not overdo it.”
Avoid isolation and help those that may be isolated.
“If you’re feeling lonely around the holidays, reach out to a friend, neighbor, or relative,” Troiani said. “Sadness can make you want to be by yourself but finding a social connection to talk to can go a long way. Conversely, if you have a friend, neighbor, or relative that you know is alone for the holidays, reach out to them and invite them to join you or your family.”
Renewing your faith.
“The holidays are a good time to try and renew your faith,” said Troiani. “Taking part in religious services and exploring the true meaning of Christmas and the holiday season can be a big help to some.”
Write down what your thankful for and try and think positively
“When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to forget what you have to be thankful for,” said Troiani. “Everyone has a choice to be able to focus on things that are positive or negative. Writing down what you’re thankful for is a good way to focus on the positive things in your life.”
When to Seek Help
If your symptoms worsen, the holiday blues continue after the holidays are over, or you’re struggling to function like you normally do, contact your doctor or mental health professional.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
If you’re feeling suicidal or dealing with an emotional crisis, dial 988 to connect to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and be connected to trained counselors who will listen, provide support and connect you to resources if necessary.