Getting through the holiday blues

It's supposed to be the most joyous time of year, but plenty of people will tell you they struggle during the holidays.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation says it usually experiences an increase in admissions at the start of the new year, while the National Alliance on Mental Health reports 64 percent of people living with mental illness say the holidays make their condition worse.

"It can be overwhelming," said Dr. Heather Jones. "There’s a lot of expectations this time of year."

Dr. Jones says the holidays can be like a pressure cooker for anyone who struggles with anxiety and depression. She also says it can be an extremely lonely time.

She suggests setting reasonable expectations, anticipating and planning for challenging moments, and identifying a trusted person who you can lean on for support.  She also says it's important to recognize all emotions.

"Honor the emotions – the difficult ones, the joyful ones – and leave space for the grief and the worry," she said. "Because when we can acknowledge those feelings physiologically, they actually reduce in intensity."

If someone is in crisis, the M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital has an emergency department for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis that is open 24 hours.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is 988.