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Common Causes for Holiday Blues

People often experience the holiday blues and can become depressed over the holidays. Hanging onto fantasies of the perfect family celebration can lead to unrealistic expectations. These in turn contribute to feelings of disappointment when things don’t turn out the way we’d hoped. Dwelling on this can lead to depression or what’s commonly known as the “holiday blues.” It’s so much better to think about how things usually go over the holidays and base your expectations on these, rather than what you perceive would be the ideal. The added pressure to spend time with family can also cause problems, especially if dysfunctional patterns exist between members. One can become sad and depressed just thinking about past holidays and missing loved ones who have passed on and are missed terribly. More stress comes with the financial strain of buying gifts for everyone.

Holiday Blues and Signs of Depression

Feeling sad, being weepy and dissatisfied or down are typical symptoms of being depressed, not the passing holiday blues. Other warning signs of depression could be pessimism or general apathy and being increasingly irritable. Not having much interest in doing things that were once enjoyable are also indicative of being depressed or blue. Having an increased or decrease in appetite, problems sleeping, excessive drinking and general feelings of guilt of unworthiness are also signs of depression. No one can “will away” feelings of depression as they are not within our control. As much as we might like to be able to, we cannot turn our feelings of depression off. These feelings are a signal that something needs our attention, something just isn’t right and we need to attend to the issues.

Coping with Holiday Blues  

To prevent the holiday blues, think about what you can realistically expect of the holidays, from your family members and what you can realistically handle yourself. If you are having problems just thinking about being with your family or certain family members, try to figure out why, when this began and what is at the root of it all. Is this something that can be talked out with those involved? Can you find a way to not react in these situations? If your sadness is out of grief and of past holidays and traditions, you may want to establish some new traditions. Every family changes and evolves, new members join and others depart so it’s natural for families to find other ways of celebrating together.

Do not add to the pressure by thinking you need to give everyone a gift. You aren’t Santa Claus no matter how much you would like to be. Give to those who mean the most to you and don’t bother with all those extras that aren’t really worth the time or trouble. Clarify for yourself what the holidays mean to you and what you would most enjoy doing and set out to have a good time. Take time off for yourself so you can just relax. Think about everything you accomplished this past year and where you’re headed and give yourself some credit. 

Because our treatment for depression relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods for beating holiday blues that results in depression.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center 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.  It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful and people who have completed our program have resulted in our treatment program receiving very highly consumer satisfaction scores and reviewsCall us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.