Signs of depression

If these symptoms affect your relationships and the conduct of your daily activities it's important to discuss them with your primary care physician who may wish to refer to you to a mental health provider:

  • Feeling depressed, sad or discouraged
  • Loss of interest in once-pleasurable and enjoyable activities
  • Eating more or less than usual, or gaining or losing weight
  • Having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more than usual
  • Feeling slow or restless
  • Having a lack of energy
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless or inadequate
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty with thinking clearly or making decisions
  • Withdrawal from others and a lack of interest in physical intimacy
  • Persistent thoughts of death or suicide

How to cope with the holiday blues

The UC Davis Medical Center Department of Psychiatry experts offer the following tips to avoid the holiday blues:

  • Establish realistic goals and expectations for the holiday season.
  • Don't make the holiday season a time to cure past ills. The holidays should not be expected to cure sadness or loneliness.
  • Limit drinking and never drink and drive.
  • Remember that it's okay to not feel festive. Accept your inner experience and don't try to force yourself to express specific feelings — like happiness or excitement about the holidays.
  • To relieve holiday stress, know your spending limit and stick to it. If you're on a tight budget, try to enjoy free holiday activities.
  • If you've experienced a traumatic event recently, like the loss of a job or home, divorce or break-up, or even the death of a loved one, talk to friends and family about your feelings.
  • If you feel particularly stressed or sad seek professional help from a pastor, counselor or other mental health professional.