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Monday, December 10, 2012 - When the Holidays Aren't Happy

The behavioral experts at Peninsula offer these guidelines for getting through the holidays and moving from a Blue Christmas to a more merry one.Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a severed relationship, or just general, unsettling changes, sometimes the holiday season can be far from joyful. It’s the only time when the same songs, decorations, and TV shows come back every year to remind us that life isn’t the same as it used to be.

The behavioral experts at Peninsula offer these guidelines for getting through the holidays and moving from a Blue Christmas to a more merry one.
  • Take care of yourself: Proper diet, exercise and sleep can go a long way toward helping you deal with stress and achieve a healthy balance in your life.

  • Talk with family members: Discuss holiday plans, feelings and expectations. It may be a good time to start a new tradition, or end an old one.

  • Remember that others are hurting, too: Help others who may be grieving, or seek out a worthwhile cause to involve yourself in during the holidays.

  • Don’t try to shop your way into a merry mood. It may temporarily take your mind off your troubles, but running up credit card debt will only make matters worse later.

  • Get support: Spend casual time with friends, or find others who may be dealing with similar experiences.

  • Don’t feel ashamed: Whatever you are feeling, it is right for you. Many people benefit from professional group or independent counseling on a temporary basis.

How to Help a Friend Who’s Hurting:

  • Keep in touch: Phone calls, cards and letters or emails let the person know they are cared about and not forgotten.

  • Be understanding: Grief emotions may range from sadness to anger. Don’t take it personally.

  • Offer help: Don’t wait to be asked – pitch in.

  • Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all. Phrases like, “I know how you feel,” or “You can get married again,” are often hurtful. The simple, caring presence of a kind person usually speaks more than words.

When to Get Professional Help

Here’s a check list to help you gauge depression. If five or more of these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, or interfere with work and family life, it may be time to see; the help of a mental health professional.
  • A consistent feeling of sadness or emptiness
  • Loss of enjoyment/fun
  • Weight gain or loss, aside from what’s normal during holiday festivities
  • Trouble sleeping, or sleeping excessively
  • Feeling especially restless or sluggish
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Thoughts of death

If you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from clinical depression, contact Peninsula at (865) 970-9800 to find out about available counseling services, or log on to peninsualbehavioralhealth.org.
© 2014 Covenant Health
100 Fort Sanders West Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37922
(865) 374-1000