CLEVELAND – When you think about the holidays, happiness probably comes to mind.
But for some people, this time of year can be difficult.
“I think for a lot of people, it reminds them of the folks who are not in their lives anymore,” said Kia-Rai Prewitt, PhD, psychologist for Cleveland Clinic. “A lot of people feel alone during this time of year and so that might contribute to depression symptoms.”
Dr. Prewitt said some signs of depression can include loss of interest in doing things you used to enjoy, feelings of sadness, hopelessness or worthlessness, a change in appetite, and trouble sleeping.
So, what are some ways you can cope during the holidays?
She suggests connecting with family and friends. Sometimes even just sitting with another person can be comforting.
You could do something that appeals to one of your five senses, like listening to calming music, or maybe go for a walk outside.
It’s also important to check on any family members or friends you may think are depressed.
“If you do notice a friend or a neighbor that is typically by themselves, offering to help them with something, or inviting them over for a meal or a cup of coffee, those are things that you can do as a way to reach out to others who you think might be depressed around this time,” said Dr. Prewitt.
She said if you notice your mood doesn’t seem to be improving with time, it’s best to consult with a mental health professional.
If you are experiencing any kind of suicidal thoughts or considering harming yourself, you should call 9-8-8, which is the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.