Once again, the holidays are upon us, and this year’s tributes to the holidays will be different for many as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Department of Health and Human Services recommend celebrating with preferably people from the same household in an effort to prevent spreading the coronavirus, COVID-19. 

Visit https://files.nc.gov/.../NCDHHS-Interim-Guidance-for-Thanksgiving.pdf for more information on having a safe Thanksgiving in 2020. This virus has certainly taken its toll on not only the United States, but most of the world. 

As many of us comply with the 3 W’s: Wearing a mask, Washing hands, and Waiting six feet apart, we are also doing our best to keep our families isolated as much as possible. I say kudos to all who are working tremendously hard to stay safe and to keep others safe as well. Although the fact remains as we move closer into the holiday season, unfortunately for many, this “isolated reality” may push or move more people into depression, or what some may call “The Holiday Blues.” 

Research shows that just as joyful as many are around the holiday season, there are others who are sad and depressed. The National Alliance on Mental Illness refers to this temporary period of sadness as “Holiday Blues,” which triggers feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and a sense of loss. Let’s face it, most people have bouts of sadness or depression at times; the key is not to let these times extend into longer periods. 

Since many have been alone or socially distanced since March, a greater feeling of sadness or depression may exist this holiday season. Managing the Holiday Blues requires some effort, and this year’s holiday season will be especially challenging to many, so try to stay safe, take care of yourself mentally and physically, and stay connected at the same time. For instance, admit how you are feeling and reach out for help if needed — call a mental health provider. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-TALK (8255). 

The holidays hold many fond memories of childhood time spent with parents, grandparents and other loved ones who may have moved away or perhaps are deceased. It is OK to talk about feelings of loneliness.

Reach out to others through telephone calls, FaceTime calls, Zoom meetings and other forms of contact to a close friend, group of friends or family members who can give you some kind of comfort and cheer.  A key point to remember is in order to celebrate future holidays with our loved ones, we will have to forgo this year’s large holiday celebrations and gatherings, remembering that COVID-19 is temporary.  

For more information on mental health resources, contact National Alliance on Mental Illness-North Carolina at naminc.org.

T. A. Jones is a freelance contributor to The Warren Record, and the author of “The Parent Push, Helping Your Child Succeed Through High School and Beyond.” To contact her, visit tajones.org