Coping with holiday depression

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FREMONT, Neb. Merry.

Health Check

They are all words you tend to hear this time of year. But they don't describe how everyone feels. In this month's health check report - Serese Cole tells us - the holidays can also be a time of stress and sadness - but they don't have to be.

From decorations - to shopping - signs of the holiday season are everywhere you look.

But it is not a festive time for everyone.

"I think it's about expectations," said Dr James Sorrell with Methodist Fremont Health's Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic.

He says for some - the holidays are hope.

"They're surviving and not really thriving - and so they look to the holidays for inspiration, hope, comfort and pleasure."

Unfortunately, that's not always reality.

"When it's missing - it can be really crushing," Dr. Sorrell revealed.

The disappointment shows up a number of ways- like overeating, drinking or not sleeping.

Dr. Sorrell, "Somebody who is withdrawn, somebody who is having some more physical distress - headaches or other things, somebody who just looks like feels like they're off their game."

If you notice someone battling the holiday blues - he recommends just being there - and listening.

"It's just time to reach out to someone you care about," Dr. Sorrell said. "We all have that sense when someone is doing well or not - and then having the courage to say, 'how are you' with good eye contact and a sense of real openness."

"If you're feeling down this time of year - shift your focus. Instead of thinking about all the presents you're going to buy - try just being present," said Serese Cole.

"Reaching out to others, asking people to do something like volunteering - get outside themselves," Dr. Sorrell advised.

Helping others could be just the new holiday tradition that brings the merry back to your christmas.

If being around family brings you down or stresses you out during the holidays - Dr. Sorrell recommends having an escape plan, meet in a neutral location or just do something different altogether.