The holiday season is full of fun and merry plans with all the planning, decorations, and gatherings of family and friends. However, along with the fun often comes stress and depression. In addition to the holiday season, some people feel depressed in the winter months, a condition called SAD-Seasonal Affective Depression, caused by minimal sunlight, gray skies, and the long dark nights of the winter season.
Some of the symptoms of the holiday blues or depression include: restlessness, feeling on edge, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, upset stomach, muscle tension, feeling of sadness, irritability, and sleep disturbance. The holiday blues can also affect your behavior by causing over or under eating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, and social withdrawal.
There are several useful techniques to help deal with the additional stress and depression associated with the holidays. Here are a few of the more useful techniques:
- Consider setting aside 15 to 20 minutes a day (in daylight if possible) for physical exercise and relaxation techniques.
- Make it a point to get your regular sleep; eat a balanced diet; and avoid tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Make your holiday goals and expectations realistic. Share some of the necessary tasks with family or friends. Set aside grievances. And, most importantly, plan ahead.
- Pace yourself. Don’t be afraid to say “No” or postpone the commitment to a time after the holidays. Pace your physical energy on a daily basis and mentally enjoy each single day.
- Reach out to friends. If you have time, consider volunteering to help others. Helping others is a good way to help yourself. Don’t think of the “good old days”—make good “current days”.
- Use care and caution regarding your spending to avoid financial stress. Giving of yourself, in person, a card, call, or letter, is much more meaningful.
- Acknowledge your feelings of sadness, especially if you have just lost a love one or can’t be with family. It is normal to feel sad not to be with love ones—just don’t let it dominate you. You stay in charge to enjoy what is still present.
- Make time for yourself—something that will help you relax, feel better, and bring you joy. Keep your sense of humor.
“Enjoy the blessings of the day…for this day only is ours: we are dead to yesterday and not born to tomorrow.” Jeremy Taylor
Wishing all of you a happy, peaceful Holiday season.
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