Created: December 01, 2020 12:08 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The pandemic is raising concerns of a “bluer” holiday blues. The symptoms start creeping up in the beginning of the holiday season, as the name suggests.
"The holidays are sometimes more difficult for people, and we notice people's depression or people's mental illness tend to actually worsen around this time,” said Dr. Shannon Stromberg, the medical director for the Health Behavioral Program at Presbyterian.
The pandemic could add more weight to an already stressful time for most people, which can lead to more people catching the holiday blues.
"It's gonna be impossible to predict the exact numbers, but I think it's fair to say that they're going to be higher than we experienced in the past. Just based on the fact that our numbers of people seeking help and having mental health related issues due to the pandemic — just from this year — are higher than the numbers have been in prior years,” he said.
Dr. Stromberg pointed out a survey from the National Alliance on Mental Illness which reported 64% of people with a mental illness say the holidays worsen their symptoms. The survey is from 2014.
However, Dr. Stromberg said anyone can feel “blue," even if they are not diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
He said celebrating with family, spending money, shorter days and the fear of spreading the virus to loved ones can be a few reasons why people court start feeling exhausted, have a shift in personality or sleep schedules and pick up self-harming habits.
He said people can keep up a healthy diet, exercise more and spend more time outside to soak up the sun as ways to combat the blues. And most of all:
“Staying in touch with people, even if it’s virtual, staying in touch,” he said. “Use your telephone, use Zoom, use Skype. Get in contact with people.”
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