Focusing on You: Mental Health Alert as Some Face Holiday Blues this Season

2 min read  |  December 13, 2022  | 
Disponible en Español |

UHealth professor of psychiatry offers ways to overcome feelings of sadness and anxiety

Firdaus Dhabhar, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. For information on mental health treatment and services offered click here.


Tis the season for food, fun, and festivities! But for some, this time of year can bring on feelings of stress and anxiety, says Firdaus Dhabhar, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“We all experience some kind of stress and maybe a little bit of social anxiety depending on what you’re called upon to do during the holidays. And the stress can come from financial pressures, trying to keep many, many commitments in terms of time, social engagements and so on.”

Dr. Dhabhar, who studies how stress affects our immune response, says there are things we can do to feel better. It can be as simple as calling a friend on the phone or doing something kind for someone else to help alleviate the holiday blues.

“Try not to isolate yourself too much, although it’s okay if you need time for yourself. Get as much sleep as you reasonably can. Avoid alcohol or go easy on it if you’re experiencing negative emotions and try to stay active.”

He reminds us that the holiday blues are only temporary, but if feelings of sadness or despair don’t go away, there is help.

“Going on for weeks at a time, sometimes continuously, would all be signs that you’re maybe leaning towards depression or at least should get it checked out.”

Sometimes, just focusing on what’s good in our lives can change our perspective.

“Most of us are fortunate enough that we have much more to be grateful for than worried or stressed about.”

Video transcript compiled by Janna Ross for ‘Focusing on You: Innovations in Modern Medicine,’ a series of healthcare-related stories airing regularly on WPLG Local 10.  For more stories like this one, visit UHealth’s YouTube channel.

Tags: anxiety, depression, Dr. Firdaus Dhabhar, focusing on you, holiday blues, mental health, psychiatrist, psychiatry, stress

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