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5 things you can do to combat holiday blues

For many people, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year but for others, it’s one of the hardest times of the year.

Clinically diagnosed depression and holiday depression syndrome can happen during any time of the year and for many reasons. Stress and anxiety during the months of November and December may cause people who are generally happy to feel blue, down or sad.

For those who are clinically depressed, the holidays can only make you feel worse.

This time of year is hard for people for many factors like: increased stress and commitments, unrealistic expectations, money woes, cold and gloomy weather and feeling down about loved ones who have passed away and are not around for the holidays.

Mental health experts say it’s okay to admit you’re struggling and to know you’re not alone. There are resources to get you help and start feeling like yourself again.

“There are plenty of people willing to listen without judgement and that can be a positive experience for you to communicate what your feel and know you’re not being judged and for you to know the person sitting across from you really cares,” said Brandon Kutmas, a mental health professional at UnityPoint Health Trinity.

Mental health professionals suggest some tips to help you make gradual progress to start feeling like yourself again:

  • Talking with a doctor and getting a screening done. After that you can consider options like therapy or medication.
  • Do the opposite of what your body is telling you to do. The first step can be difficult but each day will get easier.
  • Set small goals and celebrate all accomplishments. Even getting out of bed for the day is a positive step
  • Be more active and social. Be around people who make you feel happy
  • Stay away from toxic relationships. Those people will only hurt your progress

“Depression is a multifaceted disorder and no two people are going to look the same. It’s important to know that just because you don’t have what the TV shows you what depression looks like that you can’t get help. No one deserves to feel down or feel that way alone,” added Kutmas.

Kutmas also stresses the impact social media has on our mental health.

“Often when people are feeling down, they socially withdraw but turn on social media which has negative impacts because they are comparing their life to others. Those pictures are doctored in many ways and often take hours to get a photo to portray a specific image. It’s not real.”

Social media is a highlight reel of people’s lives and often, they only show what they want others to see. They most likely are feeling or have felt the same way you do.

Resources for mental health in the Quad Cities:

UnityPoint Health Trinity

Transitions Mental Health Services

Family Resources

Vera French

Genesis Health Systems

United Way

Psychology Health Group