Beating the holiday blues |

Beating the holiday blues

Dean Pappas
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The holidays are a time for partying, celebration, and enjoying friends and family. Yet too often the holidays are accompanied by feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety that can be hard to shake.

Holiday blues can be triggered by fatigue, financial stress, over-commercialization, family tensions or unrealistic expectations. Winter weather, and long, cold nights can add to the gloom.

By noting a few simple guidelines, the holiday season can be more peaceful and enjoyable.

Pacing yourself, limiting commitments and allowing for adequate rest reduces the chance of burn out.

Financial planning keeps the budget under control and helps avoid the debt trap.

Increasing indoor lighting, especially fluorescent lights, helps alleviate the down side of oppressive winter darkness.

Setting realistic goals and expectations, reaching out to friends and finding inexpensive ways to enjoy yourself are all ways to help beat the holiday blues.

More tips to manage holiday blues:

• Volunteer: Take the focus off of your loneliness and share your time with others.

• Delegate: Pass tasks around to make them more manageable.

• Let go of the past: Avoid comparisons with the good old days. Make the best of what is now.

• Reach out: Contact a distant friend or relative, or make a new friend.

• Limit alcohol: Drinking increases depression over the long run.

• Choose your company wisely: Surround yourself with positive people.

• Give yourself a break: Be kind to yourself in word, deed and thought. Find a quiet spot and moment to relax and recharge your batteries.

• Evaluate expectations: Are you adding to your happiness, or making yourself grouchy and testy? What is the point to the holiday spirit, anyway?

• Benefit from increased social support: Vent your frustrations with a supportive group and learn creative ways of coping.

– Dean Pappas is a mental health counselor based in Carbondale. He hosts a free support group in Glenwood Springs for people suffering from depression. For information, call (970) 355-4151.

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