It can be easy to think of teens as a different species, but it turns out they are perfectly human – just like the rest of us! True, they are passing through a stage of such significant development it can almost be considered a true metamorphosis. And their sometimes-extreme emotional shifts may be difficult for them, and us, to understand. But don’t let any of this distract you from the truth that a teen in your life might be experiencing the ‘holiday blues.’
The ‘holiday blues are typically short in duration and brought on by the added stress and anxiety that can come with the holiday season. High expectations, an increased number of social events, disruption of sleep schedules, changes in eating patterns, a decrease in exercise habits and travel are just a few of the things that may contribute to increased stress and anxiety during this season.
Here’s where a trusted adult or friend can make all the difference. Pay attention, and if a teen (or anyone) in your life seems to be struggling with the holidays, begin by asking them how they are feeling. Listen, respect, and validate their feelings. Let them know that they are not alone – a lot of people struggle with the holidays. Then, help them begin to build their toolbox for handling the holiday blues by asking: What can help you feel better right now? What healthy habits (start with sleep, nutrition, exercise) could help you feel better? How can I support you to do the things that help you feel better?
NOTE: If the “holiday blues” last more than two weeks, it could be a sign of depression. Check-in with your health care provider or contact: Service Access and Management at 610-236-0530, text line: 484-816-7865.
By Nadine J. Smet-Weiss, Community Liaison
Translation by Ana Villaman, Prevention Specialist