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Advice Column: How to Beat the Holiday Blues

By the SPHA Social Services Department

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - In October we expect to see pink ribbons everywhere in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We strongly support increased public awareness and funding for this illness that has devastated so many families and individuals. We'd like to also shed light on October being Depression Awareness / Mental Health Month.

As the holidays approach and the weather begins to change, many of us experience what is commonly known as the "Holiday Blues." It is not uncommon to experience fatigue, sadness, difficulty concentrating, increased anxiety and sleepless nights during this time. However, it's essential to remember that you are not alone in this.

Here are some tips to help you combat the Holiday Blues:

Boost Your Mood with Healthy Food Alternatives: Incorporate foods like dark leafy greens, berries, herbal teas, and nuts. With mood boosting vitamins and minerals such as folate, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and phenylalanine, these foods are a fantastic addition to your diet.

Engage in Physical Activity: Exercise has been shown to boost mood, decrease the symptoms of depression, and reduce stress. Start slowly and build up to 30 to 60 minutes a day, three- five days a week, of aerobic exercise, strength training, yoga, or other fitness-related activities. Getting outside daily, even for a few minutes a day, can make a huge impact on your mood as well.

Call on Your Support System: Spending time with supportive people is key to boosting your mood. This may include walks outdoors, talking on the phone, or coffee dates and other interactive activities.

Develop a Sleep Routine: Without adequate, regular sleep, psychologist say our circadian rhythm can get disrupted, which disrupts cortisol rhythms and impact hormone production. Adequate sleep for adults should range from 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Seek Professional Help: Regular sessions with a licensed counselor or psychotherapist can be beneficial to those struggling with seasonal affective disorder or other forms of depression. Various therapies that involve talking through emotions, circumstances, and strategies with a qualified neutral party are available during darker months and all throughout the year. Reach out to your local mental health agencies for more information and resources. If you need assistance finding these, feel free to email us at


Residents participating in craft event.

Photo of Philip Benjamin Tower residents participating in craft event.