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SLO County offers free mental health resources to fight the “holiday blues”

While the holidays can be a time to celebrate, they can also become a huge stress factor. What makes the difference is learning how to detect those signs and seeking the mental health resources you need.
Posted at 6:41 PM, Dec 20, 2022

December brings to mind Christmas lights, Santa Claus, family gatherings and parades.

However, it is also a time of stress for many people, whether it is shopping for the perfect gift, planning a holiday trip, or coping with the loss of a loved one.

This year, there’s another factor: inflation.

According to a survey by AFLAC, in 2022, 78% of the people surveyed said they were choosing one cost-cutting measure this holiday season.

“If you’re wondering if you’re feeling the holiday blues, it can present itself in two different ways. It can present physically with a backache, headache, fatigue, you’re just feeling tired all the time,” explained SLO County Behavioral Health Public Information Officer Caroline Schmidt. “Mentally, if you are noticing signs of depression or tiredness, maybe you’re also a little bit on edge, you’re overreacting quickly to things that are making you upset. ”

To avoid the holiday blues, it is important to put yourself first.

Schmidt advises the following:

  • Set boundaries with your friends and family members for gatherings.
  • Think about volunteering.
  • Know your substance limits.
  • Don’t overextend or overschedule.
  • Stick to your budget.

“If you’re noticing yourself get stressed out or feeling anxious and overwhelmed, read a book, set aside time to watch that Hallmark movie that you have cued up, really focus on yourself and making sure you stay stress-free, so when you do have time to spend with loved ones, you’re the best version of yourself,” added Schmidt.

For those dealing with a recent loss, the county reminds the community that Hospice SLO and Wilshire Hospice offer free grief support groups.

For more tips and key hotline numbers, click here.