How to beat 'holiday blues'

December 20, 2013

The stress can take a toll, and if you lost a loved one or moved away, the season can be lonely.

Action News Registered Nurse Ali Gorman talked to an expert about how to beat the "holiday blues."

It's the time of year, many of us look forward to, but high expectations can set us up to feel down.

"For many people, the holidays have a lot of ups and downs. It's not all happy times. But they're faced with this ideal of having it be a happy time so that's usually where much of the difficulty comes in," says Dr. Elizabeth Gosch.

Doctor Elizabeth Gosch, a psychologist at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, says to avoid "holiday blues", set realistic expectations including how much you can afford to spend on presents, and how much you can fit into your schedule.

She says in the midst of holiday parties and shopping, try to find time for your usual activities- things that help reduce stress.

"They may not be able to exercise four times a week like usual, but maybe a couple times a week at least," she said.

And if you are away from family or close friends, the holidays can be especially tough.

Volunteering can help you and others feel more connected.

If you lost a loved one, Dr. Gosch recommends doing something special to remember them.

"Something that feels meaningful and like they are connecting with other people around the person that they have lost can make a big difference in helping people cope at this time," said Dr. Gosch.

And one more tip, as crazy as the season tends to get, try to make sleep a priority.

Try to stick to your usual sleep habits when you can. Adults should try to get at least seven hours a night.

And just a note, if you are feeling down every day for more than a few weeks, that could be a sign that it is more than just the blues; it could be depression. That is something you should talk with your healthcare provider about.

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