Halstrom Blog Post
Tips to Identify the Holiday Blues and Help your Teen Get Through it
It's the most wonderful time of the year.. or is it? Unfortunately, not for everyone. With the corporate mainstream pushing the holidays on us starting in October nowadays, enormous expectations loom for those picture perfect family gatherings bursting with holiday cheer. For some, the hype only makes them feel worse. Teens in particular are acutely susceptible to holiday depression. Here are some tips to identifying and helping your teen get through the holiday blues.
Listen and Learn: Your Teens Perspective
It's not easy being a teenager in 2016. As parents, we recognize this and we can sympathize, but we have not experienced firsthand the adolescent mind during this age of utter technological bombardment and digital overload. Somewhere amidst the madness they are still learning to navigate their emotions and find meaning in their lives. Listening to them with an open mind and heart will help them feel as though they can speak freely and openly, bringing about a sense that they are important and they do in fact matter.
Watch for Signs
It's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between normal teenage brooding and depression. Watch your teen closely for the following signs and symptoms if you suspect they're having a deeper issue than just general teenage distress.
- • Inability to cope with difficult situations
- • Change in sleeping patterns i.e, excessive sleep or insomnia
- • Lack of energy, fatigue; loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- • Decreased ability to concentrate, make decisions, remember things
- • Self-inflicted injury i.e, cutting or burning oneself
- • Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness; low self-esteem
- • Any mention of suicide or an attempt at suicide
If any of these signs persist or you notice other extreme behavioral changes, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Studies show that approximately 20% of teens experience depression before reaching adulthood and that depression increases a teens risk for attempting suicide by 12x. Early detection and diagnosis of depression saves lives.
Stay Vigilant and Judgment Free
It's additionally important not to dismiss your teens problems as petty or trite. Try to remember their concerns are very real to them, and can often be all-consuming and especially magnified by the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Whether it's the pain of a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the overwhelming stress of piles of homework, the sadness associated with having recently lost a loved one, or the wistfulness of the holidays not being like they remember due to divorce. You can help your teen to redirect their energy in a more positive manner in the following ways:
- • Encourage them to eat healthy and exercise
- • Have them keep a journal in which they can express their thoughts
- • Keep the holidays simple to reduce undue stress
- • Encourage them to engage in their favorite activities and positive friendships
At Halstrom Academy, we not only care deeply about your teens education, but also about their health and well-being. We choose to focus our unique one-to-one education structure on schoolwork rather than homework as we understand that true learning entails fostering a whole persons development. Without the pressure of homework over the holidays, your teen has more freedom to gain valuable life experience through interactions with family and friends, and by engaging in sports, music, art and other community activities and personal interests essential to helping them find their true selves. Take some time this holiday season to browse our website or contact us for more information regarding our alternative education model and how it can help reduce the pressure and stress on your teen.