GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — For some, the holidays can be a fun and happy time. But not everybody has those same feelings.
In some cases, the holidays can bring on the ‘holiday blues.’ Professors at East Carolina University say the holiday blues can bring on plenty of stress and pressure and are offering advice to help with it.
Dr. Debbie Thurneck, a licensed psychologist and the director of the PASS Clinic at ECU said the holidays can be a challenging time for people who have depression.
“People take on extra responsibilities, not enough time to do them, they might have reminders of loss or grief,” Thurneck said. “There’s financial stressors, of course, and strain, planning for travel, trying to meet everyone’s expectations with that, the pressures of gift giving. Even the pressures of trying to create these perfect memories of the holidays, it all contributes.”
Dr. Ashley Britton, a clinical assistant professor at ECU in the Psychiatry Behavioral Medicine Department said when people are feeling down, sad or stressed they tend to withdraw inward and isolate themselves.
“I know people feel like, ‘Well it’s the holidays and I should spend time with family, even though they stress you out, you can also choose who you want to spend that time with,” Britton said. “Your family can be comprised of who you choose to be together, not just biological.”
According to Britton, social media can make the problem worse.
“They’re looking at this one moment in time that has been perfectly staged and edited to show that they’re living their best life when in reality maybe it’s the exact opposite,” Britton said. “A lot of people are looking at life and living life through the lens of their phone rather than living in the moment.
“So one of the things I like to tell people any time of the year, but especially around the holidays, is to be present. Allow yourself to be in the moment.”
Experts say if any of the stresses become too overwhelming or if there are any thoughts of harming yourself, reach out for help immediately. They say to dial 988 or reach out to any mental health services in your area.