Holiday Blues can impact young people
Childhood Depression
Getting the blues during the holidays is not a feeling reserved for adults. Children can be subject to depression at this time of year for some of the same reasons as their parents. Sometimes this time of year brings back memories of loss, whether it is the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a move away from cherished friends. For some it is the reduced daylight, the increased darkness that can bring on the blues. For others, it may be a fear of being disappointed during the holidays when reality does not meet expectations.
Do’s & Don’ts
If you notice young ones in your sphere that seem blue during this time of year, here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider to help them navigate a time of year usually associated with joy and cheer.
• Avoid minimizing the child’s feelings with comments such as, “You should be happy, Santa is coming and winter break is about to start!” or “Cheer up!” It is better to validate the child’s true feelings, “I sense you feel sad. Is it something you would like to talk about?
• Encourage physical activity if you are in a position to offer it. Staying inside and idle can be counterproductive.
• Encourage healthy eating. This is a time of year when a lot of sweets are offered. Be sure leafy greens, fruits, and proteins are a part of the diet.
• Help manage the child’s expectations for the holidays. Communicate what will be happening and what is out of reach for the family (and for Santa).
• Check in on your own emotions. Be sure you are radiating a positive outlook for the benefit of others, or get professional help if this is not possible.
• Plan ahead for post-holiday traditions or activities to avoid post-holiday let-down like a week-end trip, game nights, or movie nights as a group/family.
Remember, the holiday blues are common to us all on occasion, but if the condition persists, it is always a good idea to see a professional to determine if treatment is necessary.