This is supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year, but you may be feeling like you’re left out of all the joy. Kathy Stone form the Iowa Department of Public Health says it’s not unusual to feel the blues this time of year.

Stone says we have to deal with the holiday blues every year, but it may be a little tougher this year because of the concerns over the economy. Stone says the continuing recovery from the summer floods and severe weather could also add to the concerns for many Iowans.

Stone says you can help ease the anxiety by slowing the pace. She says set reasonable expectations, as real life is not like the holiday commercials, and if you aren’t doing everything or buying everything, that’s okay. Stone says enjoy the holidays through relationships and not material things.

Stone says if you have family and friend who are important to you, connect with them in person, through e-mails, or calls on the phone. She says stick with the people who you know care about you and make you feel good. Stone says there are some signs that you might be getting down.

Stone says holiday blues are normal and feeling stress are normal, but is you have trouble sleeping, or are cranky and irritable, then you should talk to someone. She says talk to family, a minister, or you can seek out a professional. Stone says recognizing that you’re feeling too stressed is a good thing.

"I think it’s a sign of strength and a sign that you care about yourself and you care about your family if you reach out when stress gets to the point that it’s interfering with your ability to enjoy life," Stone says. Stone says you can call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985 for help in finding someone to talk to about the stress in your life.