Holiday good times can mean holiday blues for some

If you are like many people, chances are you probably didn’t finish all of your holiday shopping this weekend, even with those Black Friday deals and Small Business Saturday stops.

And if you’re like many of us, that holiday gift-giving is just one note on a long laundry list of tasks we’ve got to accomplish before the calendar turns over to 2018.

It’s apparent — the holiday season is upon us. Colorful lights are being strung up on homes and trees, and the Christmas music is playing in stores all across the country — though it seems as if some merchants had already taken out their holiday decorations before Halloween was over.

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, and The Mining Journal’s Cheer Club has kicked off its 39th year, we believe it’s an appropriate time to start looking toward Christmas and the new year celebrations.

Many of us look forward to this time of year and can’t wait for all the excitement associated with the holidays, such as seeing old friends, spending time with family or all that delicious food. Others look at it as the giving season, when donating used items to those in need or giving some of our time to help out those less fortunate than ourselves takes top priority.

But there are also those of us who feel the holiday season is actually not so great, but rather overwhelming and just too much commotion.

Last week, The Mining Journal took a look at these “holiday blues” and talked with Carole Touchinski, community outreach specialist with Great Lakes Recovery Center. She said the pressure people face during the holiday season can lead to a lot of habits that aren’t good for our mental health, and can sometimes result in a feeling of tiredness, a desire to be isolated or a change in hygiene habits.

The holiday blues can be different for everyone, and Touchinski said 14 percent of the U.S. population experience the blues in some form or another.

One thing about the holidays is certain — this time of year can be a stressful one.

“We over-schedule, we over-spend, we over-eat, we under-exercise,” Touchinski said in the Journal article.

All of that can add up to one big mountain of stress, and, as Touchinski noted, those holiday blues can be compounded if you or someone you know loses a family member, friend or job.

While the blues may subside for some people after the new year starts, Touchinski said acknowledging the condition is important.

“It is really important to catch because a lot of people move from blues to depression and then maybe into major depression and then suicidal ideation in general,” she said.

There is help out there for those who need it.

Great Lakes Recovery Centers is one place, and it can be reached at 906-228-9696 or toll free at 855-906-4572.

Pathways Community Mental Health is another resource. It offers crisis support services around the clock, and can be reached at 1-888-PATHWAY (728-4929).

Dial Help is an option that offers 24-hour crisis intervention support at no charge. Individuals can call the local help line at 906-482-4357, or the U.P. toll free line at 1-800-562-7622. Services are also available via texting at 906-356-3337 or an instant messaging live chat link at dialhelp.org.