Reclaim Your Holiday Spirit and Beat the Holiday Blues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact:  Traci Patterson, Director of Communications
tpatterson@mhahouston.org
713-523-8963 x 476 or 713-520-3476 (Direct)
www.mhahouston.org


HOUSTON, TX (December 5, 2011)—Although it's called the season of joy, the winter holiday season brings on the holiday blues for many people. While the holiday blues are less intense and usually lasts a shorter time than depression, the down-in-the-dumps feeling is often hard to shake.

The holiday blues can be especially daunting for those struggling with the emotions of grief, loneliness, strained relationships, family tensions, health concerns or financial limitations. Holiday blues are equally as challenging for someone who is already dealing with mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression since the stress of the holidays may exacerbate their symptoms.

The good news is that you don't have to suffer. You can give yourself a wonderful gift—peace of mind. There are strategies that you can use to help change?your outlook on the holidays, and to reduce your stress, improve your mood and perhaps beat the holiday blues. Mental Health America of Greater Houston suggests the following coping tips to help make your holidays more bearable:


-Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

-Reach out. Find community, religious or other social events and volunteer opportunities where you can participate. These activities can help you feel less lonely and isolated, as well as offer support, companionship and a boost to your spirit.

-Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like years past. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones.

-Set aside differences and grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.

-Stick to a budget. Decide how much money you can afford to spend and stick to it.

-Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities trying not to over commit

-Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. People will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity.

-Remember healthy habits. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks plus get plenty of sleep and physical activity.

-Make some time for yourself. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

Health and mental health experts alike suggest that those suffering from the holiday blues, depression or stress can benefit from increased social support or counseling during this time of year. Mental Health America of Greater Houston offers individuals and families free or low cost counseling through the Pro Bono Counseling Program or Information and Referral Helpline. Get help if you need it. This is our gift to people who are uninsured, underinsured or unable to afford counseling in the Greater Houston community. Contact us at 713-522-5161 or irspecialist@mhahouston.org and visit our website at www.mhahouston.org.

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Category: press release