Belinda Lyons, the executive director of the San Francisco Mental Health Association, recently released a fact sheet on the holiday blues.
Are the holiday blues a common problem? The holiday season is a fun time for a lot of people, but for others, it’s a time when sadness and loneliness can be exacerbated. Especially now with the bad economy, people who are unemployed have additional stress looking for gifts.
What are some tools people can use to avoid the holiday blues? The Mental Health Association put out some tips on preventing holiday stress and depression. Volunteering your time is a great way to lift your spirits during the holidays, and there are great opportunities to do that in the Bay Area. Other tips include sticking to a budget; that can help with the financial stress of the holidays. And then there’s a number of free activities that people can participate in. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get into the holiday spirit.
People can start feeling bad about not feeling happier, right? Yes. If you can’t get into the holiday spirit, acknowledge your feelings. We don’t need to force ourselves to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
What are signs that it’s beyond just the blues and help is needed? I think a typical tip we give is when sadness or the blues start to get to a stage where it’s really interfering with your ability to relate to others or go to work or function, then we would really encourage the person to get professional help.