Heartland Human Services

Winter Blues??

For some people the year-end holidays are quite joyful and satisfying.  For others, the anxiety of creating a perfect holiday gathering can quickly become nightmares – leading to bouts of depression, says psychologists. 
The holidays are very stressful because people want that time of year to be perfect.  Other factors contributing to a more stressful holiday season may be the loss of a job by a family member or other economic concerns or having a friend or relative in the military stationed in a war zone.  Psychologists find that many people feel a natural let-down after the holidays. 
Depression is more than sadness; depressed individuals tend to feel helpless and hopeless.  People who are depressed may become overwhelmed, exhausted and may stop participating in their routine activities.  They may withdraw from family and friends.  Some may even have thoughts of death or suicide. 
Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses.  Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.  Symptoms of Depression are:

  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Feelings of panic and fear
  • Sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping
  • Hopelessness

People can take seven steps to beat the holiday blues:

  • Avoid or reduce alcohol consumption.  Liquor is a depressant that can deepen existing emotional problems.
  • We are no longer all just traditional families so creating new family traditions can enhance any gathering.
  • Include exercise in the daily routine.  A walk in the sunlight will add energy and help people battle seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
  • Leave uncomfortable or somber gatherings.  Don’t stay in a bad situation that makes you feel worse.
  • Maintain close friendships and confide in those you trust.  Talking about your feelings will help reduce or eliminate the blues.
  • Read one of the dozens of books on the market to discover stress-busting tips.
  • Change expectations by realizing that no one person or life is perfect.  The grass is rarely greener on the other side.
Psychologists advise those who have feelings of depression lasting more than two weeks to seek professional advice.  If you or a loved one are experiencing  any symptoms of depression, contact Heartland Human Services at 217-347-7179 or take a free screening at www.heartlandhs.org