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How to manage your 'holiday blues' this season

With the holiday season in full swing, the happiest time of the year causes many to feel sadness instead of joy.

ARKANSAS, USA — From Thanksgiving to New Year's day experts say some can experience the  “holiday blues," which are temporary feelings of anxiety and depression. 

“Clinically we call that seasonal affective disorder. The difference between holiday blues and seasonal affective disorder is when you have seasonal affective it can be at the same time every year. It doesn’t have to be the holidays,” said LPC Coretta Woodard.  

Woodard is a licensed professional counselor and owner of “the people place." She says the holiday season is the busiest time of year for them. A lot of times it’s because of the pressure that comes with the holidays.

“You got to show up for parties, you have to shop and buy everyone a gift. It can especially impact our introverts because everybody says, ‘oh you got to hang out with your family, you got to do these things and be overwhelmed,” Woodard explained. 

With inflation and the cost of living on the rise…the pressure of gift-giving can be added stress.

“Because of the expectations of the holidays to perform, and please, I think that people can either overreact to that or be keep it pretty low, and that’s the depression side,” Woodard said. 

One of the ways to manage your holiday blues can be by working on your fitness goals, getting some fresh air and taking a walk, or doing yoga.

“I think that mediation can be a really good way of dealing with your holiday blues it's nice to be able to focus and quiet your body," said Joi McGowan.

McGowan—an expert in meditation and a licensed professional counselor—says focusing on the present is one way of managing stress.

“I think that sometimes people think that mediation means I have to keep a quiet mind and not have any thoughts in my head when I’m trying to breathe and focus on something, but that’s not it... Meditation is all about being present with your body, and where you are in a physical space,” McGowan said. 

Another option experts say is finding a place, you feel comfortable but engaged.

“I would say if you get yourself engaged in something, it can take away your desire to sit at home settled in the blues. There’s something else you can do except just feel bad during the season,” said Pastor Curtiss Smith.

Take note of how you are feeling.

“I think a great outlet is to journal whatever feelings that you're having. Everybody has access to pen and paper, and sometimes the things we’re carrying inside of us are toxic, but it actually relieves it when we can get it out, so maybe try writing down what you’re feeling," Woodard said.

if you recognize you’re feeling unhappy this holiday season. Woodard suggests a few things you should avoid. 

“Some of the things you want to avoid is you want to limit your alcohol intake because alcohol can be a depressant for some people. We want to avoid overeating, and being around toxic people… People that bring you down and people that aren’t making you feel better.”

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