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Your Healthy Family: How to cope with loneliness, grief & depression over holidays

Posted at 7:25 AM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 07:25:20-05

When you think of the holidays, you typically think of the most wonderful time of the year. But for some people, the holidays can be tough. A Psychologist with the Cleveland Clinic said this time of year can bring out increased loneliness, grief, and depression.

"So for people in that circumstance, they can often assume everybody else is having a happy, warm, loving, stress-free holiday, and it can make whatever they were experiencing prior to the holidays that much more challenging,” Dr. Dawn Potter said.

If you are in this situation, Dr. Potter said there are some things you can do to make the holidays a little easier:

  • Set boundaries so you’re not in an uncomfortable situation or stuck with people you don’t get along with
  • Change the subject if you get into a difficult conversation
  • Take a break from social media; it’s easy to compare yourself to other people online and assume everyone is having an amazing time, but what you're seeing is only the highlight reel

If you are struggling financially and can’t afford presents for your loved ones, Dr. Potter said there are still plenty of ways to show you care.

"If you are creative and are able to do some type of homemade gift, that can help save some money, that can be really helpful. You can also give people coupons for activities you will do with them, or chores you will take off their plate, or plans that will be made in the future," she said.

If your stress or anxiety isn't getting better, Dr. Potter recommends reaching out to a mental health professional. If you or someone you love is having a tough time right now, don't be afraid to reach out for help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a hot line you can call for free, 24-7, at 1-800-662-HELP.