The Banyan Group lays out the red flags to watch out for post-season
Regardless of the circumstance of 2020, the holidays have still been a time of nonstop activity for a lot of people. Even though we are venturing out less, we are still shopping and buying gifts (albeit online), eating larger and often unhealthy meals, and even still traveling and spending time with family, although likely at a reduced capacity. It all still adds up to a bunch of stress.
Long before COVID-19, the holidays tend to bring some folks both excitement and dread. Some of us want to experience the magic of giving to such a degree that we end up spending more than we can afford. We want to reconnect with family and friends, but too much closeness can lead to the rekindling of old problems and conflicts. And now, with the pandemic, being unable to visit loved ones over the holidays can heighten the feelings of isolation and being left out…and even guilt for those who did not want to participate to begin with and now feel bad. The Banyan Group of Boca Raton understands how rarely the holidays meet our expectations and how we often wind up feeling disappointed and upset as a result.
So, of course, come January, lots of us make resolutions to do things differently in the new year. After so much indulgence of the holidays, many of us vow to lose weight and work at being healthier…but we also often have difficulty following through. Other common resolutions include improving our financial circumstances and/or working on relationships but making lasting changes in either case can be extremely challenging. Having these stressors, and not keeping with the promise to ourselves to improve the circumstances, can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression.
Additional issues following the holiday season can include just trying to settle back into our day-to-day routines, which can also be something of a letdown. The reality of the credit card bills on the way or memories of dysfunctional family functions can make us feel sad and discouraged. And, sure, these feeling are common, so when should we take our post-holiday blues seriously?
The following are 7 red flags for which we should all be on the lookout:
Isolating from Others: When people pull back from friends and family and social distancing becomes the preference for extended periods, it may be a sign that they are feeling depressed and could benefit from seeking out help to deal with their emotions.
Excessive Sadness or Irritability: Striking changes in mood can indicate a person is going through a difficult time. If someone is feeling unhappy, hopeless, sad, or irritable for no specific reason, therapy may be beneficial so they can explore some underlying issues through which they may need to work.
Changes in Eating or Sleeping: People can use food to “numb out” uncomfortable feelings or stop eating on a regular basis if feeling depressed. Eating much more or much less than usual is another sign to look for, as is deviations in sleeping habits. When someone abruptly begins to experience chronic insomnia or can never seem to wake up (or particularly want to), that can be another red flag.
No Joy from Activities: When he or she stops appreciating the activities that used to bring that person pleasure, that may be another warning sign.
Substance Abuse: When someone starts trying to cope with emotions in an unhealthy way, such as by drinking to excess or using drugs, something may be amiss, and help should be sought.
Functional Impairment: Another sign of depression would be if someone has begun to struggle with completing normal job responsibilities or routine tasks that previously posed no problem.
Self-harm: Any time someone begins thinking or talking about harming themselves, or worse, that person should immediately seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is available 24-hrs a day, 7-days a week, and someone is there to talk or listen whenever needed.
Dealing with the blues around or after the holidays is extremely common. Struggling with deeper feelings of depression should always be taken seriously. If you or someone you know has been experiencing any of the warning signs discussed above, contact The Banyan Group with therapy offices from Boca Raton to Lake Worth to West Palm Beach or call our main office at 561-967-2566 for a complimentary consultation. After all, getting professional help may be the best gift you could possibly give (or get), and it is never too late.