All locations are currently closed to visitors, unless you are making a compassionate visit. // LEARN MORE
Middlesex Health is evaluating those with respiratory symptoms in a designated area outside of our Emergency Department in Middletown. COVID-19 testing will be provided for patients who meet certain criteria. // LEARN MORE
It is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year, but that’s not always true. For many, the holidays can be stressful and full of sadness.
During the holiday season, so many things can cause stress, and stress can cause depression and ultimately put you at risk for suicide.
Your expectations could cause stress. You might put extra pressure on yourself to find the perfect gift or to cook a delicious meal. Around the holidays, you also deal with seasonal changes. (Yes, seasonal depression is a real medical condition.)
What’s the best way to deal with these challenges? Dr. Jeffrey Shelton, chairman of the Middlesex Health Department of Psychiatry, says it is important to manage your expectations. Delegate and make it a potluck dinner, and keep doing what you normally do outside of the holiday season, such as exercising or spending time with friends. If you have plans to join a gym, don't wait until the new year!
“Take good care of yourself,” Dr. Shelton says.
Giving back can also help. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or help your community in others ways.
Dealing with loss
Losing a loved one can turn a joyous holiday season into a challenging time of year. Bereavement is particularly difficult during the holidays because the season is often all about family.
It’s OK to grieve.
Dr. Shelton says it might be helpful to do something special to remember your loved one during the holidays. Light a candle, and it will help honor that person and validate your feelings, he says.
If you know someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, Dr. Shelton suggests that you reach out. Talk to them, ask them open-ended questions, express empathy and withhold judgment.
When to seek help
Sometimes, the stress and sadness can get to be too much. You should seek help if you are no longer doing the things that you normally do.
Pay attention to your thoughts and actions and recognize if a particular action becomes a pattern. Are you irritable? Do you have trouble getting out of bed?
Just like it is OK to grieve, it is OK to seek help. Don’t isolate yourself.
One final tip: Be mindful of your alcohol consumption. If you are depressed, stay away. Alcohol won’t help you heal.
While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, we do know it is contagious. Fortunately, there are steps that you and your loved ones can take to help limit spread of the virus.
Cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, have been confirmed around the world, including in the United States. It is important that you know about this virus—even if you don’t travel internationally. You should know when and where to seek help.