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Help for the Holiday Blues

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

So it’s Thanksgiving…and Christmas is right around the corner. Somehow, Scrooge comes to mind. Not everyone has a wonderful, loving and supportive family. Then again, some folks have no family at all.

Being alone for whatever reason can make the holidays really tough to get through. I can recall hearing people say they hate Christmas and can’t wait until the holidays are over. If you have recently separated from a significant other, lost someone you love, or find yourself dealing with a lot of stress at this time of year, it can be hard to feel jubilant and joyful.

Sometimes we think everyone else in the world has a wonderful life, money and friends. That can just deepen the sense of isolation and gloom around the holidays. Know that you are not alone!

There is a mental health support group available now at Madison Valley Hospital in Ennis on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm. If this is not something you feel up for, do not despair. There are other ways to help when the holiday blues set in.

Listen to music! Get inspired or rock out!

Get up and go for a walk if you can. Walking triggers endorphins that are natural pain relievers! Taking in nature and being outdoors can really help lift your mood. Use the time outside as a meditation. Focus on your 5 senses, one at a time. What do you smell? Hear? Taste? See? How does the air feel on your face? Walking for 30 minutes, 3 times a week can improve your memory! Consider doing something else outside such as fishing or taking a hike. Until December, take bear spray if you plan to do any hiking. Be sure to bundle up!

Finding a really good book can be a great escape from all the holiday noise. Or, you can write a letter. In this time of electronic communication, a letter to a brother or sister, parent or friend can be a wonderful surprise. Writing down your ideas and thoughts can also be really helpful.

If you have a car, going for a drive can be fun. Go someplace you always wanted to go, a road you have not yet explored. Even a short, day trip can be an adventure!

Sewing is also wonderfully therapeutic. Make a potholder, or a quilt. Knitting is an ancient tradition, as is crocheting. It won’t be hard find someone to teach you both of these skills. There’s a knitting group every week at the Twin Bridges Library on Tuesday at 2:30pm. Or ask someone at the senior center to help or refer you.

If you are someone who enjoys groups, there are adult evening classes at this time of year. Sheridan Schools Adult Education is sponsoring morning and evening exercise classes. The schedule is on the Ruby Valley Medical Center’s website under News->Community Healthcare Calendar.

Try planting some herbs in your kitchen! Or you can buy an Amaryllis or Paperwhite Narcissus. Give yourself a gift of flowers in winter! Watch something grow!

Go to a movie, for free! Sheridan Public Library hosts Movie Night at 7pm on the first and third Thursday of the month.

If you find yourself pretty down and out, it may be time to talk with someone who is not directly involved in your life - a benevolent observer of sorts. There are people to help and listen. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I’ll be at the clinic in Twin Bridges. Come in and talk if you are having trouble or feeling low. Talking helps. We can come up with a plan.

There is help available. One small change in your life can change everything!

Wishing you an emotionally healthy Holiday Season,

Judy Weitzel, PMHNP-BC

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