Are You Feeling Blue?

The winter holidays can be a very special time. Friends and families gather to share meals, perhaps exchange gifts, or just spend time together laughing and talking. It can be a wonderful time for some. However, for others, this time of year is not so pleasant. For various reasons ─family tension, loss of a loved one, financial stress, bad memories of past holidays, etc.─ the holidays can cause some to feel a bit down. It could also be that you are alone during this time. This article suggests that those who may have a small social circle or lack opportunities for socialization could have feelings of disconnectedness and loneliness ─making them more likely to ‘feel blue’ or experience symptoms of depression. They could find themselves asking why everyone else seems so much happier than they are. The article offers several ways to fight off the holiday blues that often accompany the holidays during this time of year. 

A second article suggests that there may be good news in that these “blues” or low moods often pass once the holidays are over. However, just because you have hope that the feelings will pass does not mean you should just “buck up and ignore your feelings.” The article states “You can still do things to help yourself manage the blues—as long as they are not too overwhelming.” Self-care is critical. Doing simple things like taking a walk, listening to uplifting music, or doing something that relaxes you should help. The article offers several things you can do to lift your spirits. Another article provides several positive and practical tips to help beat the holiday blues. However, if you do find that your feelings are too much to manage, it’s okay to ask for help. The author suggests that if your feelings seem to be “more serious and you’re experiencing troubling, persistent symptoms—not sleeping, losing your appetite, lasting sadness every day, or not being able to motivate yourself to do anything—these may be signs of major depression which require professional attention. Consulting with your doctor or a psychotherapist would be a good step to take to find out if you need psychological treatment or medication”. 

Keep in mind that if you are okay during these times but notice someone around you who seems a bit down, you should check in with them. You probably won’t make someone feel worse by asking how they’re feeling or noticing that they don’t seem happy. It’s okay to ask if they’d like to talk. You may be able to help lift someone’s spirits just by allowing them to talk about their feelings. Whether it’s you or someone you know who is feeling a bit blue this holiday season, just know that it probably won’t last, and there are things you can do to help. You just need to figure out what will work for you. And if you need help, ask for it.