Every year, as we put away October and begin thinking of the holidays, my thoughts go to those who are much less excited for November and December festivities. As we approach Thanksgiving, many people enter into the “holiday blues.” This can be caused by many factors: increased stress and fatigue, illness, unrealistic expectations, loss of a family member, over-commercialization, the economy, lost income or the inability to be with one’s family. The increased demands of shopping, family reunions and houseguests also contribute to feelings of tension. Even people who do not become depressed can develop other stress reactions during the holiday such as headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating and difficulty sleeping.
Below are several ways to identify potential sources of holiday depression and ideas that can help individuals cope with the seasonal “blues”:
- Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable by not trying to make the holiday the “best ever.” Setting realistic goals, organizing your time, making lists and prioritizing what activities are important helps your overall preparation.
- If you begin to feel panic, back off biting off too much, and ask for help with food preparation or other tasks.
- The holiday season doesn’t automatically banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely; there is room for these feelings to be present, even if the person chooses not to express them.
- Life brings changes. Each holiday season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. You set yourself up for sadness if everything has to be just like the “good old days.”
- It’s an age-old remedy—do something for someone else. Helping others lessens our thoughts for our own grieving or sadness.
- Excessive drinking can make you more depressed.
- Trying something new and celebrating the holidays in a way not done before may result in a positive and inspiring change.
- Spending time with people who are supportive and care about you is always a comfort. Making new friends or contacting someone you have lost touch with may be a good alternative to remaining alone.
- When there are a lot of activities with family and friends, some time for yourself, doing what you prefer to do or to rest, may be a necessity.
- Tried and true — countering sadness by composing a list of things, people, situations for which you are grateful.
Keep an eye on your family and friends who may be alone this year. Some bravado may be a thin façade—masking unshared depression.
Mild forms of depression can be due to endocrine or hormonal imbalances in men or women. Often, supplementing the pituitary gland with a homeopathic remedy can balance the endocrine system of the body and give relief from mild depression. Consult your doctor.
Yet, if you experience, or know someone who experiences mood swings, or shows signs of depression, it would be appropriate to seek support now before the holidays get in full swing. Some considerations for help include your physician or maybe a church minister. If you are concerned for your own well-being, or that of another who is showing extreme signs of depression, you can call a Suicide or Crisis Hotline. National numbers are 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
Wishing you a happy November, and time of thanksgiving.
- September 2016 Newsletter – Silent Judgment Isn’t Benign
- November 2016 Newsletter – Truest Spirit of Our Celebration