Getting Through the Winter & Holiday Blues

As we get closer to Christmas, with the days shorter, darker and colder, many people feel anxious or blue. With the COVID pandemic imposing a layer of isolation on top of those feelings, the experience of being down or lonely can turn into depression.
 While there is no cure-all for feelings of sadness and a sense of loss, there are things that you can do to hang on to some emotional balance during this difficult season.
Watch what you eat. Enjoy the foods that you love in moderation. It is very tempting, at this time of year, to mindlessly eat holiday sweets, whether they be Chanukah gelt or Christmas cookies. Watch out for alcohol and sugary foods which can exacerbate those blue feelings.
Have realistic expectations. We are all struggling with not being able to have a big family feast, seeing neighbors and friends, and just hugging those we love. Remember, however, that you can connect with the people you love by phone, virtually on the computer, or even taking a walk outside together.
Aim for feelings of positivity and flexibility. We all need to accept that this year will be different, but grousing and complaining about it will not help. Keep an open mind about what you can do to feel better, try some new techniques, and seek moments and things to be grateful for.
Reach out to others. Check-in on those whom you know will be alone, seniors you’ve had contact with or others whose illnesses may make them feel even more isolated this season. Even a simple phone call can make all the difference in the world, both in making one and receiving one.
Try to keep moving. Jumping rope at home, walking around inside your house and tracking your steps, or doing yoga – any exercise can help to improve your mood. Even bundling up against the cold and going for a walk outside can make you feel better. While, it is not exercise, changing your environment by going for a drive to see the Christmas lights can also be fun and help to take you outside yourself.
Please remember that professional help is available even during the holiday season if, in spite of everything you have tried, you need professional support.
Wishing you a peaceful and calm holiday season, and the very best wishes for a joyous New Year.
Dr. Alison Block