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Tips to beat the holiday blues

The 914th ASTS Mental Health Shop has some tips to help fight the holiday blues. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Andrew Caya)

The 914th ASTS Mental Health Shop has some tips to help fight the holiday blues. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Andrew Caya)

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Greetings from the 914th Aeromedical Staging Squadron Mental Health shop!

For many of us the Holiday season can be a stressful and sad time of the year. These feelings often come from unrealistic expectations, loneliness, financial difficulties and relationship problems. Sometimes, it's the season itself, with short days and less sunlight being the culprit or maybe we suffered the loss of a friend, or family member.

Whatever the reason we are feeling stressed or sad, if we recognize it in ourselves and others we are in a better position to cope.

Stress and sadness manifest in many ways to include fatigue, irritability, sleeplessness, muscle aches, nausea, excessive drinking, overeating and impulsiveness. More serious manifestations include changes in job or academic performance, cynicism, excessive worry, and thoughts of suicide. Some people experience one or more of these signs or symptoms on an ongoing basis and the holidays make them worse.

Could this be you? Could it be your wingman? The answer is...YES it could!

We all experience stress to one degree or another. So what can we do about it?

- Don't expect to be perfect; acknowledge your disappointments and unfulfilled goals and move on with a detailed plan

- Don't compare yourself to anyone else and don't look back to the 'good old days'

- Limit activities to what you can realistically accomplish; make a list to keep on track

- Enjoy the moment by accepting the good with the bad.

- Volunteer and/or spend time with people who care about you.

- Don't overspend - keep track of your finances

- Don't drink too much alcohol

- Re-connect with a friend or try to make a new friend

- Make some time for yourself; eat healthy foods and get some exercise

You do not have to shoulder the stress of this holiday alone. If you are feeling sad or anxious don't isolate yourself. If you, or someone you know, is struggling or are having thoughts of self-harm or harm to others, seek help immediately.

Remember the acronym LINK: L - Look for issues, I - Inquire about their concerns, N - Note the level of risk and K- Know your referral sources. So be particularly aware of stress and sadness during this time of year, be mindful of it in those folks around you, and be safe!

The following on and off base agencies are here to serve you:

- Suicide Prevention Hotline - (1-800-273-talk).

- Niagara County Child & Family Svs/Employee Assistance Pgm (716 285-6984)

- Erie County Child & Family Svs/Employee Assistance Pgm (716 842-2750)

- Airman and Family Readiness (716 236-2097)

- Capt Jim Bastian, Catholic Chaplain (716 860-7746)

- 914 ASTS Mental Health Shop (716 236-6342)

- Military OneSource 1-800-342-9647 or MilitaryOneSource.Com