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After The Holidays

By allaboutfa3909812, Jan 1 2019 08:36PM

WHAT CAUSES HOLIDAY BLUES?

Many factors can cause the "holiday blues": stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints, and the inability to be with one’s family and friends. The

demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension. People who do not become depressed may develop other stress responses, such as: headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating, and difficulty sleeping. Even more people experience post-holiday let down after January first. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months

compounded with the excess fatigue and stress.

COPING WITH STRESS AND DEPRESSION DURING AND AFTER THE HOLIDAYS:

• Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself.

Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about

what you can and cannot do. Do not put entire focus on just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day) remember

it is a season of holiday sentiment and activities can be spread out (time-wise) to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.

• Remember the holiday season does not 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.

• Leave "yesteryear" in the past and look toward the future. Life brings changes. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Don’t set yourself up in comparing today with the "good ol’ days."

• Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some time to help others.

• Enjoy activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations; going window shopping without buying; making a snowperson with children.

• Be aware that excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.

• Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.

• Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends or contact someone you have not heard from for awhile.

• Save time for yourself! Recharge your batteries! Let others share responsibility of activities.

CAN ENVIRONMENT BE A FACTOR?

Recent studies show that some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which results from fewer hours of sunlight as the days grow shorter during the winter months. Phototherapy, a treatment involving a few hours of exposure to intense light, is effective in relieving depressive symptoms in

patients with SAD.

Other studies on the benefits of phototherapy found that exposure to early morning sunlight was effective in relieving seasonal depression. Recent findings, however, suggest that patients respond equally well

to phototherapy whether it is scheduled in the early afternoon. This has practical applications for antidepressant treatment since it allows the use of phototherapy in the workplace as well as the home.

Not all of us find ourselves tapping our toes along with “Jingle Bells” during the holidays. For some,

days meant to be jolly are about as much fun as sour eggnog.

The "holiday blues" is sadness, anxiety, and sometimes depression that manifests during the holiday season. For some people, it inevitably comes along with each winter's gloom.

For example, someone who lost a best friend on Christmas Eve 20 years ago may not feel like going caroling this year either.

“That's when we have these particular illnesses, deaths, or trauma,” said Sam Moreno, a psychologist

at the Robert Young Center for Community Mental Health in Moline, Ill. “The holidays trigger some kind

of past unpleasantness, and it permeates them.”

Others prefer not to be reminded of their family's dysfunction and loathe annual get-togethers.

Many people have had unpleasant situations throughout the holidays via a function of families and personalities. People look at the holidays, and they're not what we see on TV or the movies.

Plus, burning the candle at both ends takes a toll. Leading up to the holidays, we work extra hard to prepare for time off, while at the same time cooking, shopping, and planning parties. Afterward, some people are just down, You need to rest, sleep, and take care of yourself.

On the flip side, going back to everyday life after the holidays sometimes seems bland and depressing.

Lastly, if you feel despondent regularly during the dark winter months you may have seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. While little is known about SAD, researchers at Yale University hope to find some answers soon. Experts theorize that this type of seasonal depression may be triggered by a lack of UV light from the sun, and some recommend spending time beneath a UV lamp.

People with SAD often crave sugar, overeat, and generally become lethargic and withdrawn. Symptoms may begin as early as September and last until April. More than 11 million Americans suffer from SAD,

and research shows women may be four times as likely to have SAD symptoms as men.

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