Ohio mental healthcare experts issue advice on beating post-holiday blues

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CLEVELAND — The 2023 holiday season is over, and some local mental healthcare experts report it’s easy to feel some post-holiday blues as we all head into the new year.

Scott Osiecki, CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, or ADAMHS Board, told News 5 that post-holiday doldrums are normal, but if they continue or get worse it could develop into a significant mental health issue.

“We know that this feeling of emptiness and being let down is common after the holidays or even after any big event,” Osiecki said. “But post-holiday blues should be temporary; if it lasts longer than expected or you become more depressed, then it’s time for you to reach out for help.”

Stanley Popovich knows about fear, depression and anxiety firsthand and has published a book, “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear” and set up a website on the subject in an effort to help others.

“Over the years, I’ve published my notes into a small book, so I could use them to help get through the day and everything,” Popovich said. “I have over 20 years of dealing with mental health issues; anxiety and fear, loneliness can be a factor with the holidays because everyone is getting together and you may be alone.”

Popovich told News 5 that everyone should be aware of the warning signs in themselves, friends or loved ones that they may be going through significant post-holiday depression.

“If you’re always moody, grouchy and you feel depressed, and it doesn’t go away then that’s a good sign that something is wrong,” Popovich said. “And a change of behavior, they keep to themselves, they just don’t seem with it a lot, they’re always sleeping.”

Osiecki told News 5 there are some simple steps everyone can take to help get them out of a post-holiday tailspin.

“Spend more time outside, taking walks, or getting exercise to clear your mind and to get your body back into motion,” Osiecki said. “We also encourage people to eat a healthy diet, we want you to get enough sleep, and a good thing to do after the holidays is to find things to look forward to in the upcoming winter or spring months.”

Osiecki said those seeking someone to talk to should contact the 24/7 Suicide Prevention, Mental Health, Addiction Information Crisis Hotline at 216-623-6888 or the National 988 Hotline run locally by Frontline Services.

Meanwhile, Northeast Ohio residents like Toni Bokovitz of Perry, Ohio, are working at beating the post-holiday blues. Bokovitz has set a realistic New Year’s resolution in 2024, working out at a gym, and is planning a wedding with her longtime boyfriend of six years.

“I just want to make sure that I stay healthy and active, happiness and health, all the ups and no downs,” Bokovitz said. “So my boyfriend and I went shopping and we bought a ring, but nobody knows, so surprise!”

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