How to deal with holiday depression

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Erik Menjivar
  • 97th Medical Operations Squadron
 'Tis the season to be merry, but what if you look in the mirror and all you see is a Grinch? The holiday season is meant to be warm, optimistic and full of togetherness. This is why many of us find ourselves feeling not quite in the holiday spirit when we are separated from our loved ones and stressed from the extra workload brought about by short suspenses and limited support. If you find yourself feeling this way, you are not alone. The Mayo Clinic and Mental Health America have researched the phenomenon known as "Holiday Depression" and offer various ways of coping with feeling depressed during the holiday season, to include:

1. Acknowledging feelings of depression and stress
2. Reaching out to others
3. Being realistic about what to expect during the holidays (i.e. you can't spend every holiday back home)
4. Setting aside differences with your family and friends to help reduce feelings of stress
5. Learning how and when to say no when you are feeling overburdened or overwhelmed by work or other things in your life
6. Don't abandon healthy habits
7. Taking a breather, even for just 15 minutes a day, to re-center and reenergize yourself 8. Seeking professional help if you need it

If you find yourself feeling the holiday blues and do not know where to turn, you have many options. The base chaplain can be reached at 481-7485 and offers confidential counseling and spiritual assistance to those in need. Military Family Life Counselors, who offer brief counseling and therapeutic services, can be located at the Airmen and Family Readiness Centerand reached at 693-0136. The mental health clinic offers a full range of counseling and therapeutic services to all service members and their dependents over the age of 18 and can be reached at 481-5376.

In the case that you, or someone you know, needs immediate support and you find these resources closed or unavailable, please call 911 or proceed immediately to the local emergency room, which at Altus AFB would be Jackson County Memorial Hospital, located at 201 S Park Lane. You can also contact a live counselor 24/7 if you or someone you know is in crisis at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Remember that although the holiday season can be stressful and difficult, the Air Force and the Altus community is a family here to help.