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7 Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues

Submitted by on November 24, 2013 – 6:05 pmNo Comment

Holiday Blues

7 Steps to Beat the Holiday Blues

The holidays are filled with images of a great tasting turkey, a white Christmas, a perfectly decorated house and warm family gathering. But those dreams of a perfect holiday gathering can quickly become nightmares — leading to bouts of depression, says Jay Zimmerman, a staff psychologist with Ball State’s Counseling Center.

“The holidays are very stressful because people want the holidays to be perfect,” Zimmerman says. “Many people have images of perfect family gatherings based on hopes or what they see on television. That puts us under a great deal of pressure.”

Other factors contributing to a more stressful holiday season this year may be the loss of a job by a family member or other economic concerns or having a friend or relative in the military stationed in a war zone.

In our more culturally diverse world, families may have members from different cultures with different holiday traditions or family members who don’t celebrate Christmas or other holidays. The struggle to acknowledge the multiple cultures in a family can be exciting and a joy but may also sometimes be a challenge.

People can take seven steps to beat what Zimmerman describes as the holiday blues, including:

1.  Avoid or reduce alcohol consumption. Liquor is a depressant that can deepen existing emotional problems.

2.  Create new family traditions. We are no longer all just traditional families so creating new family traditions can enhance any gathering.

3.  Include exercise in the daily routine. A walk in the sunlight will add energy and help people battle seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

4.  Leave uncomfortable or somber holiday gatherings. Don’t stay in a bad situation that makes you feel worse.

5.  Maintain close friendships and confide in those you trust. Talking about your feelings will help reduce or eliminate the blues.

6.  Read one of the dozens of books on the market to discover stress-busting tips.

7.  Change expectations by realizing that no holiday gathering is perfect.

Zimmerman advises those who have feelings of depression lasting more than two weeks to seek professional advice. Symptoms of depression may include sleeplessness or sleeping too much, a lack of appetite, inability to concentrate and feeling hopeless. Zimmerman may be reached at jzimmerm@bsu.edu or 765-285-1267.

 

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