Ways to cope with 'holiday blues' this season

Although the expectation is for the holidays to be a joyous time, it can be a difficult time for some.

Whether it’s feelings of loneliness, the stress of high expectations or the loss of a loved one.

“Sometimes the holidays can bring up painful memories,” said Dr. Daryl Knox, Chief Medical Officer with The Harris Center

Holiday blues are real and should not be ignored. Signs you may be experiencing them include fatigue, losing interest in activities you normally enjoy, trouble making decisions or concentrating, withdrawing from friends and family, anger, irritability, and sadness.

Dr. Knox says in most cases, the symptoms end after the holiday season. However, if they persist, they could be signs of clinical depression.

“If you have a depression, the holidays can really be a trigger and sometimes it can be the first trigger,” he added.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports 64 percent of people with mental illness report the holidays make their conditions worse.

Fortunately, there is help.

The Harris Center has a 24/7 mental health crisis line and a 24/7 service center at the Texas Medical Center.

“Anyone can walk in and get an assessment,” Dr. Knox pointed out.

Some of the center’s services can also come to you.

Moreover, there are things you can do to help ease the blues, such as setting realistic expectations, limiting alcohol intake, keeping track of holiday spending, spending time with supportive people, and deciding what is best for you.

“There’s no one answer for everyone. I tell people to do what makes you feel comfortable,” Dr. Knox told FOX 26.

As for family members and friends, Dr. Knox says the best thing you can do is give them space and be understanding.

“Sometimes we have a lot of expectations that they’ll be there, they’ll be there for every event, and that sort of thing and sometimes they may not be up to it,” he explained.

The Harris Center Mental Health Crisis Line is 713-970-7000.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.