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Holiday depression hits millions every year. Are you ready?

It is almost cliché to have stress and depression during the Holidays. But for many people, the Christmas holidays are truly a challenging time to cope with stress and anxiety. Those depression symptoms need to be respected and require good handling techniques. In fact, numerous studies as well as evidence from distress centers and crisis workers confirm that there is an increase in depression facts during the holiday season.

We generally think of the Christmas holiday season as a joyous, happy time. The end of the year is a period of much celebration in western culture. However, for some people holidays is not the happy time of cheer and goodwill that it is supposed to be, but a stressful time, eliciting anxiety and depression cause.

Whether one is suffering from being over stressed to the limit with all there is to do, or suffering the first holiday season after the loss of a loved one, just watching everyone else be so happy can intensify the feelings of sadness, loneliness and depression during this time.

"Holiday blues" range from mild sadness during the holidays to severe depression. Clinical depression is a disease and can be treated with recommendations from your physicians. Holiday depression, on the other hand should be addressed in a different manner.

Holiday blues can affect both men and women, young and old. Factors contributing to holiday depression include increased stress and fatigue, unrealistic expectations, too much commercialization, and not being able to spend time with family or conversely, spending too much time with family can all lead to Christmas holiday depression. All this leads to a rise in both physical and emotional stress.

The added stresses, unrealistic expectations and fatigue of the season can also contribute to the holiday depression. People with few friends or family members may feel even more alone and isolated. People with a large circle of family and friends may feel stressed by having to cook and entertain for large family get-togethers.

The increased demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests may also contribute to the tension and stress during the holidays. Common depression symptoms during the holidays include headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating or not eating enough, and sleep disorders.

The "Holiday blues" or holiday depression can be kept at a minimum or prevented, and if it’s already present, it can be eased. To help prevent holiday blues, try to follow some of these basic tips:

1. Establish realistic goals and expectations for the holiday season, and do not label the Christmas season as a time to cure all past problems. The holidays itself do not prevent sadness or loneliness.

2. Do not feel obliged to feel festive. Accept your inner experience and do not force yourself to express specific feelings. If attending a Holiday party is stressful for you, learn how to say "No, I am unable to attend. Thank you very much".

3. Schedule parties and obligations wisely. Do not try to squeeze another responsibility into already over filed timetable; rather take some time to take care for yourself with a quiet afternoon alone with a good book or a warm bubble bath.

4. Set reasonable time goals and employ time management shopping techniques - shop online or by mail order. Try to do your Christmas shopping during the off-peak season. Remember that unique, thoughtful and handmade gifts often much more pleasure than a gift bought out of obligation.

5. Set reasonable financial goals based on what your budget can afford. If you are depressed because you don't have funds for gifts, be creative. You can make hand - written gift certificates for house cleaning, trips to the store, cooking a meal for a couple of months, or even babysitting. These cost you no more than your time and will be appreciated as well.

6. Be particularly mindful of your diet during the holiday season. High sugar and non complex carbohydrate foods typical of the holidays will only make depression symptoms worse. Allow indulgences during the holidays, but with limitations.

7. Put old issues aside when dealing with family. If that is not possible, consider limiting the time spent.

8. Recognize the sadness of absent loved ones instead of denying the reality of their memory.

9. Ask people if you can spend Christmas with them. You'd be surprised at how happy your friends will be to have you, a lot of the time they are so caught up in the rush they don't know your dilemma and will be more than happy to reach out.

10. Appreciate the holiday spirit. Christmas is the season of profound love. The importance of giving to others and sharing and bringing joy to the world are central to our spiritual meanings in life. New Year's is a time of new beginnings. A time to let go of the old, forget the past, and to rededicate our energies, our talents, and our love to another year. New Year's is a reminder that, with every ending, there is a new beginning.

11. Remember that Christmas holidays depression is not permanent. Moods typically get more stable once the holidays are over.

While these simple steps seem straightforward, they could help you to better cope with the many challenges during Christmas holidays. Hopefully, it will make this season happier and more enjoyable for you.

For those who enjoy the excitement and energy of the holidays, be aware of those who may have gone through some difficult changes in the past year and, in the true spirit of the Christmas season, invite them to celebrate with you, and remind them that there is hope.



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