For some, the Holidays are special times, filled with the family and fun. For others, the approaching holidays can mean something else all together. The "Holiday blues" are another term for the seasonal depression and anxiety that occur during this time.
What causes the Holiday blues? Stress, the demands of busy schedules and families, financial strains, and overdoing it with food and drink, all contribute to these feelings. Symptoms include feeling sad, anxious, irritable, headaches, stomach ailments, and insomnia. The good news is these symptoms are manageable, with some thought and planning before we hit the holidays!
- Be realistic with your expectations of the holidays. If you find yourself feeling sick or dreading family get-togethers, make your excuses, and spend that time enjoying an activity that makes you happy. If you feel you must participate, be sure to have an "escape plan" such as driving your own car to the occasion and staying in a hotel, where you can return to if things get to be too much. Keep in mind, no one has Norman Rockwell worthy family get-togethers.
- Know your boundaries! This includes saying "no" to too many holiday party invitations, and know how and when to excuse yourself from time and energy draining obligations.
- Avoid overdoing it with eating and drinking. When we're not feeling our best physically, it's hard to feel our best emotionally.
- Stay active! Even with the colder days, it's important to keep moving. This can mean going for a walk around your neighborhood, join a gym, or grab some friends to shop and walk til you drop!
If you find yourself experiencing a worsening of any of these symptoms, you may be dealing with a more serious issue, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or even Clinical Depression. Both issues should be addressed professionally. Counseling is an important tool in fighting depression. If with our hectic Holiday schedules, it's important not to put off seeking help. Research show that once a person experiences depression, if it's left untreated, there is a strong likelihood of a second, possibly more severe reoccurence in the future. You are worth it!