By: Najla Banimalek, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
While many are excited to celebrate the holidays with their families this year, sadly for others it may not be the case this time of year can bring about a lot of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. The “Holiday Blues” are described as sadness occuring during November to December, because of holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Although the holiday blues are not an officially recognized disorder, that does not mean that these mental health problems should be ignored.
The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for those who are already coping with an existing mental health condition, because they offer a time of high emotion and demands. In a survey done by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of people with an existing mental illness reported that the holidays made their condition worse.
The most common symptom of the holiday blues is a persistent or recurring feeling of sadness that begins during the holiday season. This feeling may vary in intensity and duration, and some may experience brief periods of feeling more upbeat.
Some other signs of the holiday blues might include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Feelings of exhaustion and fatigue
- Feelings of loneliness
- Lack of pleasure in normal activities
- Losing interest in activities that you normally enjoy
- Sleeping much more or much less than normal
- Trouble making decisions
- Withdrawing from friends and family
Although the Holiday Blues are temporary and will pass, it is important to take care of yourself during this time of year, because even if you do not suffer from any mental health problems, your unresolved issues from the holiday blues could develop into something worse in the future.
Some of the causes of the holiday blues are:
- Having to buy presents for all of your friends and family members when you may not be financially stable, which puts a burden on you.
- Not being able to travel back home to see your family.
- Having no family or friends to celebrate with, or having a poor social support system.
- Having trouble putting up with your family if you have a poor relationship or don’t get along with them
Because this is a time of reflection, many people look back and feel a sense of regret or failure, and feel upset if they have not accomplished the goals and expectations they set for themselves.
In order to avoid the holiday blues, one of the most important things is to know when you are struggling and take the necessary steps to take care of yourself. Ignoring the issue would likely worsen it, so it is crucial to tackle the problem head on. Despite the situation many of us are faced with because of Covid-19, we still have to find ways to keep our morale up.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers support groups and information on how to cope with the holiday blues. For more information visit www.nami.org.