What do the lonely do at Christmas? A question the Emotions asked in their hit single. It’s not clear if they ever received an answer, but Dr. Karyn Tribble, chief administrative officer of behavioral health services does have some advice for those who might be experiencing the winter or holiday blues.
That’s right, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, the winter blues are a real thing. Some people might actually have a severe case called seasonal affective disorder, which is ironically known as SAD.
Tribble says many factors come into play in regards to the winter blues. The first one is as simple as daylight savings time, the days get shorter and colder. Even if you do not suffer from SAD, the average person tends to be more sluggish in colder weather. A natural inclination is to bundle up and stay inside which could possibly lead to isolation.
If people are isolated or struggling financially, this can be an unhealthy combo because many associate the winter/holiday season as a time to bond with loved ones and purchase gifts. If you aren’t around those loved ones or are not financially able to buy gifts this can increase those negative feelings. Tribble recommends making a plan for the winter season if this is something you might be faced with, “Start small with the things you can control.”
She says by planning out how you will spend your winter, you might be able to alleviate feelings of anxiety or depression. Little things like planning a family activity, possibly a game night or a movie night can help change your thoughts. Also, instead of trying to overextend yourself financially, just purchase one to two gifts for loved ones instead of trying to keep up with Oprah.
Additionally, the rigmarole of home-work-home during winter can also leave people feeling stuck in a rut. Here are some quick tips she shared for the working professional:
- Schedule a lunch. Oftentimes people eat at their desk. Take an opportunity to catch up with a colleague you haven’t seen in a while.
- Feeling antisocial? There’s an app for that. Take your lunch to your cafeteria but bring your headphones. Watch some of your favorite shows while eating lunch.
- Switch a conference call to an in-person meeting. This might require you to have to get in your car and drive, but it will break up your day.
- Take the stairs. The elevator can be tempting, but taking the stairs have added health benefits.
You probably noticed what all of these tips have in common are adding some additional physical activity into your day. Tribble states that endorphins are naturally released by walking around and physical activity is a way to reduce stress and depression.
Tribble admits there are days when even she herself might not be able to take a break from her desk because she is too busy. On days like this she says the pictures of her family are a big help. A glance at some of her favorite people can provide the extra jolt she needs to make it through the work day.
This winter season, try to switch up your routine and avoid feeling the blues.