Coping with the holiday blues
Clifford Zeller, MD, is chief medical officer at Banner Behavioral Health Hospital
Question: How can I get through the stressful holidays without feeling down?
Answer: The holiday blues involve feelings of sadness but also frequently include feelings of being emotionally numb. The common complaint is, “I just can’t seem to enjoy the holidays.”
Physical symptoms such as headaches or other aches and pains, lack of energy and poor sleep are frequently experienced, too.
The holiday blues usually result from a combination of unrealistic expectations, family stresses, financial limitations and plain old tiredness.
Although the holiday season is portrayed as a time of family gatherings, joyfulness and contentment, for many it can be a time of loneliness, remembrance of past disappointments, and uncertainty about the future.
A relative of holiday blues are the “post holiday blues” experienced as a letdown after the first of the year. These feelings are related to rebound fatigue from dealing with the holidays, as well as the disappointment that these holidays really didn’t turn out any better than the holidays in previous years or perhaps, not even as well.
Tips to cope with the holiday blues:
The holiday blues can be quite common, but if you are feeling especially down contact the Banner Health Help Line at 602-254-4357, or 800-254-HELP outside the Phoenix metro area.