The Holidays are traditionally perceived as a joyful time. While most of us celebrate that special time, there are millions that feel this is a sad time.

 For people impacted by depression, the holidays can be overwhelming with extra responsibilities, expectations and anxiety. While many are filled with cheer and goodwill toward others and hopes for the New Year, for some people this is a time of sadness, depression and loneliness, and a time of family or financial stress. Every day is a fight to cope with, or overcome the “holiday blues”.  People try to please and respond to demands of parties, shopping, fulfill family commitments, and all of that can contribute to tension with emotional and physical consequences.

It is important to be aware of some of the signs and symptoms of holiday depression:

  • Drinking in excess
  • Eating habits out of control
  • Migraines
  • Lack of sleep
  • Spending beyond means
  • Irritability

To those affected by the “Holiday Stress or Blues,” JCS Helpline Services 2-1-1 offers these tips:

  1. Keep Healthy. Avoid alcohol or substance abuse  which can lead to further depression.  Try to avoid eating too many cookies, candies, cakes, etc.  Sugar binges can create feelings of lethargy, compared to an emotional crash. Some activities that may alleviate those feelings can be: take a walk; go to the beach or listen to music.
  2. Enjoy the moment. If opportunities arise to talk to family members or friends about challenges, then focus on the solutions instead of just the negative.  Do not wallow in the what-if’s of yesterday.
  3. Maintain a holiday budget. While gift giving is fun, going beyond one’s means may backfire with depression when the bill arrives later.
  4. Try to focus on the here and now. Holding resentments is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Look at what can be done before family gatherings to let go of the tension. Clearing emotional space will make for a more pleasant time with those family members.
  5. Explore your spirituality. Visit a house of worship or a non-denominational gathering to gain some perspective and think beyond your own issues. Call those people you know are going through  a difficult time due to the loss of a loved one.  Also, remember many elderly persons are living in adult facilities, with no friends or family around. They will appreciate you talking to them.
  6. Acknowledge your feelings. The healing process begins when you admit that your emotions are creating issues.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the holiday blues.

Call JCS Helpline Services 2-1-1.  We care.  We are here to help.

JCS Helpline Services, formally Switchboard  2-1-1, sponsored by The Children’s Trust, is your area’s  provider of telephone counseling, information, referral and crisis intervention services. It is available to facilitate support and guidance to those confronted with such challenges during the holiday season — and every day — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.    A team of trained counselors provides assistance in English, Spanish and Creole and other languages as well to those calling 305-358-HELP or 2-1-1, or 305-358-HELP   All services are provided confidentially and anonymously without charge to the caller.