Some Causes of Holiday Blues:
The holiday blues can be related to unrealistic expectations about how the holidays will or “should” be may result in unnecessary disappointment.
Rather than basing your hopes on ideals, try to remember how things usually are and ground your expectations on past circumstances rather than on fantasies about how you would like them to be. Increased pressure to be with family may also contribute to the holiday blues if unpleasant patterns have developed. Remembering past holidays may create feelings of nostalgia and sadness, especially if there has been a personal loss. Financial pressure to “give unto others” creates additional stress and worry.
Symptoms of Depression:
Feeling down in the dumps, sad or dissatisfied may be signs of the holiday blues. Feelings of apathy, pessimism, and increased irritability are also warning signs. The holiday blues are not depression. Everyone feels a little low now and then. However, a lack of interest in things that used to be enjoyable can indicate depression. Appetite or sleep problems, drinking excessively, feeling unworthy or guilty may also signal depression. If these feelings persist and do not pass, this is more than the holiday blues. Depression is not something that can be “willed” away. These feelings are not something you can control or turn off just because you want to. These feelings are like a thermostat, signaling you that something is wrong and needs your attention.
What To Do:
To combat the holiday blues, clarify your expectations of self and others and make these realistic. If you are experiencing problems being around your family, try to begin understanding why this is so, when it started and what it is about. Perhaps you can talk it out with the person or a friend and discover other ways of responding to the people that bother you. On the other hand, if you are grieving past holidays and family traditions, it may be helpful to begin new traditions. Families change and it is necessary to find new and different ways of enjoying and celebrating. Try not to appoint yourself as everyone’s Santa Claus or feeling that you must give to everyone. Instead, give genuinely to those you are really close to and remember that many of the “extra little things” may not be worth the effort or expense. To further reduce the holiday blues, clarify and simplify your own personal meaning of the Holidays. Let yourself take time out to relax. Remember to give yourself credit for all you’ve accomplished this year, including all of the changes you have endured.
Fortunately, there is now an Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of severe depression and anxiety disorders. Our Intensive Outpatient Program provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting. If you or a loved one is showing debilitating signs of depression or an anxiety disorder, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery. Treatment for anxiety and depression can be highly successful. Contact us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.