Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Depression and the Holidays

I don't know about you, but sometimes "the most wonderful time of the year" to quote a famous Christmas carol, is not always so wonderful! The holidays, which start at Thanksgiving and don't end until after the New Year, are stressful! Cooking, spending too much money, eating too much, parties, family gatherings and decorating can take a toll on the best of us. For some people the holidays are really the saddest part of the year. A time when the loss of a loved one is felt the most, and a time when people who aren't surrounded by friends and family feel alone and isolated.

Our expectations during the holidays often set us up for feeling bad. Our fantasy of a loving family singing carols around the tree are often replaced with family friction, moody teenagers, and dinners that don't look (or taste) like the picture on our Christmas card.

We all suffer from the blues at times, especially in the winter when days are short and our "perfect" holidays don't pan out. However, if the blues last more than a few weeks you may be suffering from depression.

What to look for...
• Loss of pleasure from daily life.
• Sad, anxious or “empty” mood.
• Sleeping too little or too much.
• Changes in weight and appetite.
• Feeling restless or irritable.
• Trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
• Fatigue or loss of energy.
• Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless.
• Physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment.
• Thoughts of death or suicide.

Here are some things you can do if you're feeling down during the holidays
• Set realistic goals
• Ask for help when you need it.
• Get enough sleep.
• Go to sleep and get up at about the same time every day.
• Eat a healthy diet.
• Exercise regularly.
• Build and keep friendships and a network of support.
• Take a course in stress management or assertiveness.

If these don't help and you feel several of the symptoms of depression listed above for more than two weeks call your doctor. Don't let the blues get the best of you!

1 comment:

Zoy said...

Nice post. The holiday depression is not easily recognized; I had it for many years and had no idea that my holiday blues is a depression! Finally I took some tests, was really surprised but now I can take steps to avoid depression and enjoy holidays. One of the good tests is at