Preventing the Holiday Blues
Holiday Wellness: Not Just for the Body
by Blair Ambrose, MSW
Holiday blues can affect both men and women, young and old. Factors contributing to holiday blues include increased stress and fatigue, unrealistic expectations, and the inability to be with one’s family. The increased demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests may also contribute to tension and sadness during the holidays. Common stress reactions during the holidays include headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating or not eating enough and difficulty sleeping.
Some of the things you can do this holiday season to cope with the holiday blues:
• 20 minutes of sun and exercise a day. This is not always easy during the winter months, but take advantage of the sunny days by bundling up and taking a walk during your lunch break. Sign up for yoga or meditation class, join a gym, or reconnect with nature by taking a walk in the woods.
• Help someone else: It’s hard to feel down while you are busy helping someone else. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, wrap gifts for unfortunate kids, or spend time with an elderly relative or friend. Instead of feeling glum you’ll find yourself experiencing what the holidays are really about: Giving to others.
• Stay busy and avoid unstructured time: If you know the holidays are difficult for you, why not plan ahead and minimize your difficult feelings. Try to fill your calendar with fun events. Too much time spent alone may bring you to an old, familiar place: down.
• Most importantly: No matter what is happening in your life, think of the blessings you do have. Taking stock of all of the positives in your life — right here and now — can go a long way toward ending your “bah humbug” mood.
If you continue to experience depressive or anxious feelings despite your efforts to combat the holiday blues seek the help of a professional mental health counselor. Full Spectrum Wellness offers holistic and traditional mental health counseling.
Blair Ambrose, MSW is a licensed clinical social worker offering holistic and conventional mental health therapy at Full Spectrum Wellness. www.millyardcounseling.com or http://www.fullspectrumwellness.com/bio_Blair_Ambrose.html
Heidi Page, MSW is a licensed clinical social worker offering holistic and conventional mental health counseling at Full Spectrum Wellness. http://www.fullspectrumwellness.com/heidipage.html