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KPBS Midday Edition

What to do if the 'holiday blues' strike

Ornaments on a Christmas tree are pictured, Dec. 28, 2021.
Jacob Aere
Ornaments on a Christmas tree are pictured, Dec. 28, 2021.

The holiday blues are part of the season for many of us and in the week leading up to New Year’s Eve these feelings can start to feel heavy, especially as we finish out year two of the pandemic.

"The holidays can really be bittersweet from people's overwhelming schedules to work deadlines to loss and we've seen a lot of that in the last year," therapist Shanette Smith said.

"Gloomy days..., people also suffer from a lack of time or in the case of the pandemic, sometimes too much time. Financial pressures, gift giving, loosing the spirit of the holiday season, family gatherings. We know family gatherings can be really stressful because of family dynamics, but now you add in COVID and people are stressed about family gatherings because we don't know where people have been."


Smith, a marriage and family therapist and senior specialist at Sharp Mesa Vista Outpatient and Sharp McDonald Center, joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to help us parse out some of the emotions that come up during the holiday season.

She said the holiday blues show up differently for everyone, but fatigue, feeling irritable, withdrawing, feeling frustrated, sad, anxious and/or overwhelmed are common signs.

The goal isn't to run away or combat those emotions when they bubble up. Instead, Smith recommended recognizing your feelings and checking in with yourself and others.