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Viewpoint: Fighting the “Holiday Blues”

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For many of us, the holidays are a time of happiness and joy to spend with our families and friends - a season to reflect on the year's accomplishments, countless blessings, and an opportunity to celebrate personal relationships forged by living and serving through varied challenges. But for some, the holidays are a stressful time. Financial pressures, family obligations, and separations from loved ones may lead to feelings of irritability and frustration or a case of "the holiday blues."

To those that feel this way during the holidays, it may seem that somehow they are wrong for feeling "down" when others seem joyful. Actually, it is not uncommon to experience feelings of sadness or loneliness during the holidays. The goal is not to stay that way, but rather to ask for assistance before we become overwhelmed. We have outstanding resources available from wingmen, supervisors, first sergeants, commanders, chaplains, and others throughout our Buckley community.

There is never a better time to be a good wingman than the holidays. Look out for fellow Airman, family, and friends - both on and off duty. Some tell-tale signs of the "holiday blues" are social isolation, deterioration in personal appearance or work performance, and expressing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness. Also be aware of changes in either your own or your wingman's behavior, such as difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping, loss of pleasure in normal activities, poor decision making and decreased memory or concentration.

Balance is crucial to thriving during the holidays. Do not attempt to "do too much", as it is best to keep it simple and enjoy the time and the good fortunes we have. Likewise, maintaining fitness, sensible indulgence of holiday treats, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption will minimize your chances of slipping into the "holiday blues." Sometimes all we may need to do to experience joy is to re-evaluate who or what we value in life.

The holiday season is a time of extending good will to one another. Simple expressions such as a smile and "hello," a phone call, a letter of gratitude or a holiday card may be all it takes to stay connected and let someone know they are in our thoughts. This season let's embrace responsible choices by recognizing signs of the "holiday blues" and share the gift of concern by watching out for one another. If you need assistance or additional tips call the Mental Health Clinic at 720-847-6451. Happy holidays!
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