Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

December 3, 2013

Ways to beat holiday blues

The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — “One of the most enjoyable, yet also the busiest, times of the year is upon us, and Community Mental Health Center Inc. officials want you to be prepared to help yourself beat a case of the holiday blues,” reports Kevin Kennedy Sr., public relations manager.

“While always being thankful for family, friends and the hustle and bustle of daily life, we all know that sometimes demands can become too much for anybody, especially during the holidays. Family obligations, social and travel demands and financial strains can take their toll on all of us. The key to counteracting the pressures of the holidays is planning, planning and more planning!

“Try to develop and maintain realistic expectations of yourself and others. Plan and tackle one day and one project at a time, including holiday shopping for meals and gifts, travel and social and family events. Remember to stay involved in order to feel the spirit of togetherness and joy of the holidays, but also remember to give yourself some time to take a break and recharge your batteries. Exercise is one essential way to maintain good physical and mental health,” he points out.

“Whenever possible, do not procrastinate in planning and shopping. Stay rested and don’t push yourself too hard physically or financially. Don’t overindulge in alcohol or food, both of which affect your health and make you feel sluggish. Be particularly careful about alcohol, which is a depressant and which, while it affects your health, also can affect your mental perspective and your judgment in a negative way, putting you and others in physical danger. One sure way to ruin the holidays, and perhaps the rest of your life, is a tragic accident or a drunken driving arrest.”

Holiday blues or winter blues may actually be a clinical malady called Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to U.S. health statistics, about 11 million people are diagnosed every year with SAD. The key component of the disorder is the fact that during the winter there are fewer hours of sunlight as the days grow shorter. Sunlight has been shown to be important in the processing of nutrients in the human body and to other essential operations of the body.

Sometimes, a case of the holiday or winter blues can develop into a full-blown case of depression. “If you or someone you know has been experiencing symptoms,” such as persistent sadness or unhappiness, lethargy, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, irritability, sudden change in appetite, disruption of normal sleep patterns, physical discomfort, difficulty thinking or concentrating or thoughts of suicide or death, for two weeks or more, professional help may be appropriate.

CMHC operates outpatient counseling offices in Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties. For more information, persons can call 812-537-1302.

They also have a 24-hour crisis counseling hotline at 877-849-1248.