Help for Those With the Holiday Blues

Holidays got you down? Here's some ways to get help.

Research shows that across the country there is an increase in those who show signs of depression during the holidays. According to an article on the Mayo Clinic website, holiday blues are not the same as seasonal affective disorder. “The holiday blues refers to specific feelings and symptoms that can mimic depression.”

At a talk last week presented by the (MVCS), titled: "Holiday Blues: When is it depression and when is it not?" Dr. Dominic Maxwell explained that one of the strong differences between the two is that holiday blues are temporary. "If the blues linger on for more than a week or ten days after the holidays then it may be a depression," he said.

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as symptoms of holiday blues:

  • Fatigue, feeling drained physically and emotionally
  • Decreased interest in life activities normally enjoyed
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability
  • Excessive guilt

And these as some of the causes:

  • Burning the candle at both ends
  • Missing those not present or who have passed away
  • Using more alcohol
  • Unpleasant memories or experiences from prior holidays
  • Financial pressures and expectations of buying gifts

Kathleen Johnson, Development Director at MVCS said that, “The pressure is really on during the holidays for everything to be perfect.” She also said that the colds and flus going around are added stressors during the holidays. “It’s hard to be happy when you feel run down,” she said.

The Mayo Clinc offered some solutions:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule as much as possible
  • Try to maintain a healthy balanced diet amidst the cookies, eggnog and other goodies
  • Make sure to schedule alone time to feed your mind, spirit, and body
  • Don't strive for perfection, rather do the best you can and ask for help from others
  • Limit time at gatherings if needed

Johnson said that anyone who is having thoughts of suicide should call 911 or go to the hospital immediately.  She also added that MVCS has a number of 24-hour lines:

Child at Risk Hot Line: 800-792-5200

County Communication Center: 508-693-1212 or 311

Domestic Violence: 508-696 SAFE (7233)

Mental Health Emergency: 508-693-0032

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital: 508-693-0410

Sexual Assault: 508-696 SAFE (7233)

CONNECT to end violence: 508-696 SAFE (7233)





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