Sixty-four percent of people report having anxiety and depression during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Michael Gray, executive director of NAMI in Louisville, said feelings of loneliness, anxiety, tension, depression and fatigue during the holiday season can be related to a number of things, but most frequently it is attributed to an over-extension of one’s time, energy and resources.
“People tend to be unrealistic in terms of how much they can get done with cooking, cleaning, entertaining people and shopping,” he said.
They call it the “holiday blues.”
He said shopping is of particular concern because people tend to overspend.
“They know ahead of time that come January, things are going to be tight and that can create a lot of anxiety and tension in households,” Gray said.
Two different groups affected by these feelings: those with acute, temporary symptoms and those with a chronic mental illness such as anxiety disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, he said.
“Don’t be ashamed. These symptoms are caused by brain chemistry. It’s not your fault. Do not hesitate to talk to your healthcare professional and to talk to your family and friends,” Gray said.
He suggests setting reasonable expectations and maintaining a routine of regular sleep and exercise. He also said people should avoid overindulging in alcohol since it worsens symptoms.