Tips to survive the holiday blues

The holidays are here, meaning gift-giving, spending time with family, and making memories. But for some, instead of cheer, they experience holiday blues.

"Some people might start out extremely excited, happy, and that might quickly sour into a sense of stress, or dread, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and even depression," says Dr. Cathy Kondas, Director of Consultation Liaison Service at Bellevue Hospital.
Several things can trigger it, according to Dr. Kondas.

"It can be society; it can be a person's individual circumstances, people who are having discord in marriages, and people who are longing for lost loved ones."

Like Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Medical Director of Carbon Health and Saints Mary's in Nevada, who recently lost her dad, Bill Curry, a World II, Korean war, and Vietnam war veteran.
"It can happen at different period[s] of time, such as if I'm getting up in the morning and I'm about to call my dad, as I often would. Or when I am driving by his house. Those are moments where I am overwhelmed with sadness," says Dr. BCW, as her patients affectionately call her.
Here are some tips from Dr. Kondas on how to deal with Holiday Blues.

Accept the feeling.

"It's okay to be whoever you are and experience those feelings. Those emotions are real, and they're in that moment."

Don't isolate, and stay connected with loved ones.

"Text, reach out, call those people, see... check-in. That loving kindness, being present with somebody, in a time of need or mourning, is invaluable."
Dr. BCW says learning to navigate the holidays without her father has been challenging, but she will continue to keep his memory alive.

"I just would sit back and think of all the positive memories and I would share them with my girls, my husband, and my cousins. Anyone that was around me."

Public perception towards mental health has shifted, but the stigma still exists. Don't let that keep you from the much-needed help you may need. Dr. Kondas says to avoid social media, which might make you more depressed, and know when to seek help when those emotions turn excessive, and you're no longer finding joy in the things you used to.

"We are all people. We all have problems. The sooner we can all bring ourselves to say it and seek[ing] help, the more we'll be able to break down those barriers and help more people."

Words of advice Dr. BCW lives by, "We also have to invest in giving to ourselves because that's how we're going to be able to continue to give to our patients, our families, and everyone else."

Since her dad's passing, Dr. BCW says it has equipped her with a new skill set to help her patients cope with loss.  

If you notice your symptoms don't improve, it might be time for you to seek professional help.