Seems like the holidays bring on the blues – so much rushing around, to-do lists, crowds, social engagement – do you experience feelings of sadness or hopelessness?  How about loss of interest in your hobbies or normal activities?  Slowed thought process, anxiety or insomnia?  If so, you may be experiencing mild or major depression.  The symptoms mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg and many more can develop over time if not treated properly.  The way to win is to start with understanding the problem and develop a strategy for care.


How Common is Depression?


Know that depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.  For some, it can impair and interfere with their daily responsibilities and well-being.  If you are feeling that you may be suffering from this mental disability, you are not alone.  Help is available to you in many forms that do not require medication.  In fact, research has shown that the mind and body are connected. When a person feels sad and blue, it can impact their energy level, motivation to participate in treatment, and negatively impact outcomes, such as improving independent functioning.  Here are 5 ways to change your mental and physical well-being right now:


  1. Physical activity! Go outside for walks, engage in consistent exercise, and stay busy. Whether you live in warm weather or a cold climate, be one with nature!  The changing of the season will remind you that mindfulness sets the tone for the holiday.
  2. Speaking of mindfulness – be open to changing you mind! Tackle manageable problems, set goals, express your feelings, and BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS.  The holidays are about love, peace, joy and the pursuit of happiness – don’t get caught up in the noise.
  3. Self-care. Consume healthy foods and antioxidants, get more rest and sleep, cut out alcohol and drugs, using supplements such as Vitamin D, and/or schedule some time with your therapist.  We appreciate that holidays bring parties & sometimes over-consumption.  Just remember, moderation – you’ll feel better physically and mentally.
  4. Give back! Plan activities with family or friends, volunteer for a cause that you believe in, and/or join a support group where you can talk and listen to others with similar experiences.  Think about sharing your time with others – you can’t put a price tag on that.
  5. Be consistent – have a routine, be patient and know that you will be OK.


At Hands to Guide You we want to help improve the way you experience healthcare.  We put a great deal of thought and effort into ensuring that our patients experience successful outcomes by engaging with a team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians.  Working together with patients and families, using a systematic and cost-effective approach to providing patient-centered care is our approach.


This holiday season, take it slow, implement self-care strategies, give of yourself and enjoy being in the moment.


If you are in an emergency or think you or another may be in danger of hurting themselves or attempting suicide, call 911 or a local emergency number.  Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.