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How to beat the holiday blues during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 8:50 AM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but in 2020, it can feel like there’s not much to celebrate.

As your holiday plans are canceled or altered because of the pandemic, Dr. Ashley Britton, an assistant clinical professor at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, is reminding us all to be compassionate to ourselves and others.

Britton says the holiday blues are heightened this year because of increased levels of anxiety and depression caused by the pandemic. Many have experienced loss and isolation this year, which can take a greater toll during the holiday season.

If you notice changes in your sleep or appetite, lack of motivation, increased irritability, social withdrawal, or poorer focus/memory, you may be experiencing the holiday blues. If your symptoms persist into the spring but alleviate once the sun sticks around longer, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder.

To manage these feelings, Britton suggests setting realistic goals for yourself and to pace yourself. She says you should prioritize important activities, work on being present, and to spend time with loved ones.

If you need to talk to someone, you can call any of the following crisis lines:

· Local Crisis Line: 252-413-1637

· Real Crisis Center: 252-758-4357

· Mobile Crisis 24 Hr X 7 Days A Week 1-866-437-1821

· Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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