The Holidays are traditionally perceived as a joyful occasion by the majority of people, particularly in the United States. While most of us celebrate, there are millions in our country that feel sad this time of the year. For people impacted by depression, each year, 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 the 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
- Lack of sleep
- Spending beyond means
To those suffering from the “blues,” 211 Miami offers these tips:
- Keep Healthy. Avoid alcohol or substance use, which can lead to further, deepened depression. Try to avoid eating too many cookies, candies, cakes, etc. Such sugar binges can create feelings of lethargy, compared to an emotional crash. Some activities that may alleviate those feelings can be: To take a walk. Go to the beach. Listen to music.
- 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 sides of situations. Do not wallow in the what-if’s of yesterday.
- Maintain a holiday budget. While gift-giving is fun, going beyond one’s means may backfire with depression when the bill arrives later.
- Try to focus on the here and now. 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.
- 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.
- 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 211 Miami available 24/7 here to listen, here to help.
211 Miami, is a program of JCS. Supported by The Children’s Trust, 211 Miami is your local provider for telephone counseling, information, referral and crisis intervention services. It facilitates support and guidance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A team of certified counselors are ready to provide assistance in English, Spanish, Creole and any other language. All services are provided confidentially and anonymously free of charge to the caller.