Are you merry and bright or feeling blue?

written by Rebecca Budde - Dec. 20, 2016

The holiday season can be a stressful and even sad time for some people, which may be caused by unrealistic expectations. Some people experience the "holiday blues" during this time of year. In addition to some people missing loved ones and dealing with financial stresses, bad weather, shortened daylight hours and lack of sleep can lead to holiday blues.

Dr. Kathy Bottum, assistant professor of psychiatry at SIU School of Medicine explains. "The holidays are often very, very difficult for people. Memories of past holidays with loved ones who are gone, existing conflicts with loved ones who are here, the pressures to have the perfect holiday experience, bake and shop and spend more money than you have."

So how do you get over the holiday blues when there’s so much shopping, baking and other holiday prep to cause stress? In the midst of making the holiday happy for others, don’t forget to take care of yourself, Dr. Bottom says. She offers some tips:

1. Maintain your normal life as much as possible.
2. Get enough sleep
3. Take time to exercise
4. Only drink alcohol in moderation
5. Make time to do things that are fun, that are relaxing and rewarding for yourself.

If your holiday blues last longer than a few weeks, it could develop into more serious conditions. For serious depression, she recommends seeing a family doctor or mental health counselor for an evaluation and possible treatment.