Everyone gets the post-Mardi Gras blues.
After six straight days of partying and parade-going, it’s easy to feel like something is missing in the days after Fat Tuesday. But there are signs to look out for that may indicate a deeper problem.
The five signs of emotional suffering, from Campaign to Change Direction, give us guidelines to identify if someone is in emotional distress. These signs are not a mental illness diagnosis, but they should be red alarms for recognizing that someone is suffering.
Personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care and hopelessness may not be recognizable on the surface, but the actions associated with them are more common than you would think.
Not feeling like yourself? Changes in behavior can serve as indicators of this sign. Taking a minute to ground yourself by journaling or taking a walk can be a calming and soothing way to escape from it all. Avoid self-criticism--it’s normal to feel down after a week of partying.
Angry, anxious, or moody? Everyone has bad days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work through them. Going on a run and expressing that energy in a healthy way is beneficial both to the mind and the body. If these feelings persist, try identifying why.
Isolating yourself? Being surrounded by crowds of people, family and friends during Mardi Gras doesn’t give you much of a chance to isolate yourself. But when it’s all over, it’s easy to feel lonely. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family for support once you go back to your normal routine.
Not taking proper care of yourself? Often times, our best self isn’t on display out at the parades. Try taking a recovery yoga class and using the Lenten season as a chance to get yourself back on track. Oh, and hydration is key.
Feeling guilty or worthless? It may seem difficult to move on from such a fun time, but looking forward to what’s to come is a great way to overcome hopelessness. Don’t be too hard on yourself for what you may have done during the craziness of Mardi Gras.
If any of these feelings persist, contact a local counselor for help. One great local resource is NAMI New Orleans, and another is the New Orleans Give An Hour chapter.
The Mardi Gras season may have passed, but the five signs may just be starting to unmask themselves. Taking a moment to assess your mental health and the mental health of those surrounding you can lead to a smoother transition back to normal life and a happier community as a result.
People can call the NAMI Helpline or search for a local provider from the Give an Hour website:
NAMI New Orleans Helpline: 1-800-273-8255
Give An Hour New Orleans: giveanhour.org