This guest article comes from Laurie Eldred, owner of Eldred’s Clinical Services.
The time after Christmas can be tricky to navigate.
There is a letdown from the ThanksChristmasNewYear season, the term I use to describe that whorl of activity and events from Thanksgiving to the New Year. After all the family gatherings, children’s parties and work parties, these first few weeks of the new year can be difficult as we recover from the sugar, the parties and maybe even the adult beverage or two.
There is a term for this time period – specifically for the 3rd Monday in January – and it’s called Blue Monday. This term was given to represent the day on the calendar in which people experience depression more than any other day of the year. To be clear: when I say depression, I mean a person experiencing specific symptoms; not just a feeling of sadness or being stressed out.
Signs of Clinical Depression
Clinical depression is diagnosed when someone is experiencing symptoms that include the following:
- Crying Spells
- Sleep Problems
- Feeling Sad/Blue
- Feeling Hopeless/Helpless Regarding the Future
- Lack of Motivation
- Weight Loss/Weight Gain
- Lack of Interest in Formerly Pleasurable Activities
- Increased Irritability/Anger
- Being Suicidal
Someone with depression will experience almost all of these symptoms. Some people do experience thoughts of self-harm and even plan to commit suicide.
If you or someone you love is experiencing depression or even feeling suicidal, please get help. You can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, call your local hospital or Community Mental Health office.
For Kent County, Network 180 is the community mental health provider, and their number is 616-336-3909. For Ionia County residents, The Right Door is the community mental health provider, and their number is 616-527-1790.
How to Cope With Feelings of Depression
So if you are feeling a little down, stressed or even clinically depressed, what can you do to help yourself through Blue Monday or other times when life is difficult?
The first thing to do is take care of the basics. This means make sure you are eating well, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, drinking enough water and getting movement into your body. For the latter, that could mean getting a gym membership, going for a walk, doing yoga or even a home DVD workout video.
Another tip is to simplify your life. If you’re busy, hectic or feeling pulled in different directions, give yourself permission to let go of the things that are not working for you. Being overwhelmed and stressed out takes the focus off getting yourself better and dealing with the things that are causing problems.
You can also find a therapist and be sure to let your primary care doctor know about your struggles. Working with your doctor and a good therapist can be an effective treatment. A good therapist will build a relationship with you in a way that leaves you feeling supported and empowered. Ultimately, you should receive tools that can serve as a platform for greater transformation. A good relationship with a therapist can serve as a springboard to better mental health and overall well-being.
Finding a therapist is easy now; many insurances provide mental health services, or you can just “Google” therapists in your town or city. Also, make sure you take time to talk to that person about your concerns. Remember: as a patient, you can always say no if the interaction between you and the therapist does not feel right.
If any of this information touches home or you feel that you could use a little help, Laurie can be reached through Facebook or on-line at www.ecstransforminglives.com. She is available locally in Lowell and has hours that are convenient for many families and adults.