Holiday Blues

holiday blues

The stress of strained family relationships, memories of lost or far away loved ones, financial stress of buying gifts, and pressure to appear “jolly” or “in the spirit” can add up to a real depression problem. The holiday season is extra hard on individuals alone or away from families.

Media coverage and product marketing focuses on family relationships and how happy and perfect those relationships should be. Sometimes an individual's reality may not stack up to those standards. Financial stress adds to the mix by adding pressure to not only purchase gifts but often purchase gifts of a particular monetary value despite what economical situation and budget an individual might have. Many individuals feel alone in their battle with depression. However, depression is not uncommon, according to “An estimated 33 to 35 million U.S. adults are likely to experience depression at some point during their lifetime."

Many individuals with the "holiday blues" may not actually have a diagnosable depression and may recover quickly after the holiday season. Sometimes though, depression during the holiday season is taken too lightly by individuals around the afflicted. The internet offers some valuable resources that can help diagnose and provide guidance for any individual or loved one experiencing depression type symptoms.

Symptoms To Look For

Sometimes individuals feel ashamed of their depression and will not bring their feelings to the attention of others. There are some symptoms that can help identify medical depression. Symptoms to be aware of include:
  • headache
  • back and muscle pain
  • chest pain
  • digestive problems
  • exhaustion or fatigue regardless of the amount of sleep you get
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • impaired concentration skills
  • diminished pleasure in common activities
  • persistent guilt or sadness
  • Frequent unexplained crying

For a complete list of symptoms or a depression assessment go to

Steps To Take

If a loved one is displaying these symptoms talk openly with them about how they are feeling. Offer to go with them to a professional who can assess their symptoms and recommend a treatment plan. Encourage that individual to participate in social activities. Discourage any alcohol or other drug usage, using or abusing substances can heighten depression symptoms and impair an individual’s judgment.

Sometimes individuals who experience the “holiday blues” are not in need of medical or clinical help. Their symptoms may clear up after the hustle and stress of the holiday season dissipates. However, sometimes these symptoms highlight a true depression problem and the only way to really cope with depression is to seek medical advice from a trained professional.

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