The holidays are often a time when folks complain of feeling down or blue. These feelings are real, but most of the time, they are mild and temporary -- not true symptoms of clinical depression. When people are clinically depressed, on the other hand, they have many of the following symptoms which they experience for almost the entire day, every day for at least two weeks: They most definitely have a depressed mood or experience a diminished loss of interest or pleasure. They might lose or gain weight (without trying to) or notice that their appetite has drastically changed; they might have trouble sleeping and feel restless or unable to concentrate; or they might sleep too much, feel slowed down, fatigued, and lethargic. They might feel worthless or have feelings of guilt, and even experience recurrent thoughts of death. These are symptoms that likely require treatment from a mental health professional. They are not holiday blues.
But what about those mild, downhearted feelings that do occur, for some people, around the holidays? Here's some advice to help you avoid the blues:
- Maintain realistic expectations and relinquish the idea that you must partake in every holiday ritual.