The holiday season is a joyous time of year for many people. For some others, it can trigger sadness and even holiday depression. Instead of letting the holidays get you down, learn about a few easy ways to improve your mental wellness.
“The holiday blues are temporary feelings of anxiety or depression during the holidays that can be associated with extra stress, unrealistic expectations or even memories that accompany the season,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “The difference between the holiday blues and clinical anxiety or depression is that the feelings are temporary. However, short-term problems must be taken seriously, because they can lead to long-term mental health conditions.”
Holiday blues can sometimes be triggered by family issues, loss of a loved one or financial problems.
One of the first steps in dealing with holiday depression is to acknowledge how you feel about the season. Then, you can begin to work on potential solutions.
If you are feeling blue, it’s never a good idea to isolate. Try calling a family member or a friend. It’s likely they will be happy you thought of them.
Another way to beat the holiday blues is to stay busy. Plan out your schedule in advance, so you won’t be stuck spending too much time alone. There are many free or low-cost holiday activities, like Boardwalk Lights in Long Beach, happening on Long Island this time of year.
The holidays are a time to think of others. If you are feeling blue, try to do a good deed for someone else or get more involved in the community. It’s likely you will feel much better afterwards.
Another way to lift your spirits is to treat yourself to something nice. It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant, as long as it makes you happy. It could be as simple as buying yourself an ice cream.
No one has to deal with holiday depression alone.
If you need to talk to someone immediately, you can always call SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. It is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
You can receive referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations, like Advantage Care Health Centers. We provide mental and behavioral health services for individuals and families.