Beware the Holiday Blues!

Many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season, and people who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care to tend to their overall health and wellness. In fact, a recent NAMI survey showed that 64% of people with a diagnosed mental illness report that the holidays make their symptoms worse.
Extra stress, unrealistic expectations or even sentimental memories that accompany the season can be a catalyst for the holiday blues, and people can be at risk for feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and a sense of loss.
A lot of seasonal factors can trigger the holiday blues, too. Less sunlight, changes in your diet or routine, alcohol at parties, over-commercialization and the inability to be with friends or family are all factors that can seriously affect your mood.
Ken Duckworth, M.D., NAMI’s medical director, shares advice for managing your health—both mental and physical—during the holiday season in this video, and NAMI has a fact sheet on statistics and tips for managing the holiday blues, too.
Dr. Duckworth’s tips for managing the blues include:
  • Stick to normal routines as much as possible.
  • Get enough sleep or rest.
  • Take time for yourself, but don’t isolate yourself. Spend time with supportive, caring people.
  • Eat and drink in moderation. Don’t drink alcohol if you are feeling down.
  • Get exercise, even if it’s only taking a short walk.
  • Make a to-do list. Keep things simple.
  • Set reasonable expectations and goals for holiday activities such as shopping, cooking, entertaining, attending parties or sending holiday cards.
  • Set a budget for holiday activities. Don’t overextend yourself financially in buying presents.
  • Listen to music.
  • Remember that holiday blues are short-term. Be patient. Take things week by week and day by day.
To see all of NAMI’s resources on the holiday blues, visit the NAMI newsroom.
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