It’s the season for holiday cheer, but not everyone will be feeling cheerful. While this time of year can mean seeing your family and enjoying your favorite foods, it can also make people feel isolated and anxious.
“The shorter days and longer nights can affect our mood, so those who experience mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression tend to have a more challenging time interacting with others. Those who feel overwhelmed with finances, who find themselves without family or community support, who are reminded of losing a loved one, whose relationships are conflictual with family members, or those with comorbid health issues such as chronic pain, etc., can also feel isolated and tremendously stressed,” said Sacramento County Senior Mental Health Counselor Cristina Rainwater.
Clinicians offer several pieces of advice for those coping with the holiday blues:
- Enjoy a fun activity
- Know that it is okay if you feel unhappy
- Talk to a mental health professional
- Get some exercise
- Spend more time in the sunlight when you can
If you notice someone you know is not feeling like themselves this holiday season, there are ways you can reach out. Make sure to check in with them – even if it’s a simple “hello.” Invite them to events and let them know you are thinking about them. If they would prefer to skip gatherings, stop by or send them a gift.
“The important part is to show others they are not alone and are being thought of even when they are not feeling comfortable being around other people or partaking in festivities,” said Rainwater.
Remember, help is out there. There are several mental health services
offered in Sacramento County. To speak to someone over the phone, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is 988.