Editor's Blog For December 5, 2017 - Christmas can be the most depressing time of the year for some people...

Holiday Blues

Today, there are only twenty days left until Christmas day.  Promises of the first really chilly weather of the year, buying gifts for family members and other seasonal festivities often crowd our minds and lift our spirits this time of the year.

But even though it may appear that everyone is celebrating holiday cheer, please be aware that there are just as many suffering from holiday depression.  Depression may occur at any time of the year, but the stress and anxiety during the months of November and December may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.

Though there are several reasons why you may develop depression during the holidays, social isolation is one of the biggest predictors of depression, especially during the holidays.  Some people may have a small social circle or a lack opportunities for socialization. People who have feelings of disconnectedness often avoid social interactions at holiday time. Unfortunately, withdrawing often makes the feelings of loneliness and symptoms of depression worse.

These individuals may see other people spending time with friends and family, and ask themselves, "Why can't that be me?" or "Why is everyone else so much happier than I am?"

Many factors, including unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and excessive commitments can cause stress and anxiety at holiday time.
Certain people may feel anxious or depressed around the winter holidays due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as seasonal depression.

Headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and insomnia are some of the possible consequences of poorly managed holiday stress.

Those suffering from any type of holiday anxiety, depression, or stress can benefit from increased social support during this time of year. Counseling or support groups can also be beneficial.

In addition to being an important step in preventing the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, regular exposure to light that is bright, particularly fluorescent lights, significantly improves depression in people with SAD during the fall and winter.

Setting realistic goals and expectations, reaching out to friends, sharing tasks with family members, finding inexpensive ways to enjoy yourself, and helping others are all ways to help beat holiday stress.

If someone close to you seems to be suffering from holiday stress, reach out to them.  This could be the greatist Christmas gift you could ever give them.

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