It’s that time of year again – when radio stations play well-known holiday tunes, and “happy holidays” becomes the usual way to conclude a great conversation with family and friends. It’s the long-awaited holiday season; a time that is supposed to be filled with great joy, celebration and reconnection with loved ones. But for some, it can become the total opposite and turn into a time of great stress, sadness, and in some cases higher risk of becoming the victim of crime.
Seasonal depression tends to make people less aware of their surroundings. The feeling of anxiety and difficulty concentrating are symptoms that can bring on a less observant and alert person in public environments. Remember that famous saying, “Always be aware of your surroundings?” That can certainly be compromised with the onset of the holiday blues.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) wants to help you take the first step to reclaiming your personal safety by spotting the clues of the “holiday blues” this season.
NIMH experts also strongly suggest you seek help if you experience five or more of these symptoms every day for two weeks:
- Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
- Decreased energy, fatigue; being "slowed down"
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
- Restlessness or irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain
One of the best
antidotes for the holiday blues is doing something for someone else. Volunteer your time this holiday season and
bring a smile to someone else’s face. Activities
filled with acts of gratitude and heart-felt kindness can help make your
holidays happier, and more importantly, safer.
Host a holiday party for law enforcement and local residents in your
area. Arrange a “Celebrate Safe
Communities” event in your area and highlight the importance of community
engagement and safety for your neighbors and invited guests. Visit www.celebratesafecommunities.org for more details and
have McGruff the Crime Dog® bring in the new year
with your local community members. Take
the holiday blues and turn them into a holiday filled with community celebrations
and a remarkable level of personal safety and security!
Remember- you can’t let the pressures of shopping, social functions and family issues overwhelm you this holiday season. There are a number of things you can do to keep stress, anxiety and depression in check. Seasonal depression doesn’t have to add to your risk of potential dangers and lurking crime.