The holidays are a busy time of the year. Whether you’re celebrating with friends, family or neighbors, there are many exciting activities to look forward to. For some people, it may not be quite as joyous as others. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that, “64% of people say the holiday season makes their mental health conditions worse.”
If you find yourself as part of the 64%, know that you’re not alone. The Advanced Psychiatry Associates refers to holiday blues as, “the increase in sadness or anxiety during this time of year.” Some common signs of the holiday blues include:
- Sense of loss
It is important to recognize the signs of holiday blues to help manage your own mental health and the wellbeing of friends and family. You can help lessen these symptoms with a few wellness tips:
- Get as much sunlight as possible. Less exposure to natural light can lead to new or increased symptoms of depression. (McLean Hospital)
- Think of people, places and things that make you happy. You may not be able to see or have those things that make you happy but taking time out of your day to relax and reflect on what matters most can help.
- Don’t force yourself to be happy. Understand that it’s okay to not be cheerful all the time but surround yourself with hobbies, people or other interests that you enjoy.
- Take time for yourself. If you don’t have a say in your holiday plans, take a few minutes when you wake up or before you go to bed during this season to journal, relax with a favorite tv show or a good book to help you feel at peace.
- Ask for help. It may be hard to reach out to someone when you’re in need, but chances are they may be experiencing some of the same symptoms.
It is also important to understand how depression, anxiety, stress and other mental health disorders impact your overall health and wellbeing. NHN’s Behavioral Health guideline provides additional tips and resources to help you year-round. View the resource or contact your Primary Care Provider for assistance.