As the holiday season quickly approaches, it is easy to focus on the perceived notion that everything should be jolly and merry. However, the holidays often bring an array of demands financially, physically and emotionally making it extremely difficult for some to manage when elevated expectations are not met. We often also feel especially down when remembering a loved one who has passed away.
When we are under pressure our stress levels go up, old patterns of behavior often emerge, and our ability to cope flies out the window. Despite our best efforts, we may persistently feel sad, anxious, irritable, or even hopeless. We may also experience changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy and difficulty sleeping. If not addressed, this stress can lead to severe clinical anxiety and depression, two conditions that affect 1 in 13 people of all ages globally. We have to remind ourselves that our mental and physical states are not separate entities and should be aware that when our mental health deteriorates, it also places a toll on our physical state.
So what can we do to avoid the “Holiday Blues”? It’s crucial that we acknowledge our feelings, talk to trusted individuals, stick to a budget, maintain a healthy routine, take regular breaks, meditate, and seek professional help if needed. Mental illness, like many other chronic illnesses, is treatable and shouldn’t be frowned upon. Recovery is possible especially when treated early. This holiday season I ask that we all support our family and friends in managing the stress that comes along with the season for a smooth transition into the New Year!
Sonya Singh earned a M.S. Biomedical Sciences and is now a Biochemistry instructor at Keiser University. She enjoys educating her students and community about current health issues and in her spare time she enjoys singing, reading and relaxing on the sunny beaches of South Florida!