This is supposed to be the most joyous time of the year, yet many of us can’t wait for it to be over. Despite – or maybe because of – all the holiday merry-making, many Americans find themselves fighting depression during the holiday season.
According to a recent survey from University of Phoenix College of Social Sciences, nearly half of U.S. adults say they have sadness or depression around the festive season.
Spending time with loved ones during the season is considered therapeutic for half of all adults. However, others say that family (22 percent) or relationships (24 percent) are the reasons they seek counseling during this time.
Why are people either soothed or traumatized by their loved ones? Why such radically different responses?
Our relationships are the most powerful things in our lives, and the good and bad of them affect us deeply. This is especially true during the holidays – a time when we are particularly sensitized to the state of our relationships.
The university research team is offering these self-care tips for keeping stress, sadness or depression at bay during the season:
- “Take Inventory. Acknowledge your feelings and realize it’s okay to express them. The holiday season doesn’t automatically do away with feelings of sadness. That’s why it is important to devote quality time for yourself to step back and take stock of how you feel.
- Stay Active. Keep your mind and body moving. Physical activity in any form can improve your sense of well-being and overall health. Activities like painting, sculpting, drawing, and photography are relaxing and rewarding hobbies that stimulate your mind and body.
- Try Something New. The holidays can be a reminder of painful memories of our past. While it’s important to reflect, celebrate today by incorporating a new tradition in your holiday plans this season.
- Share and Take Care. It’s okay to delegate and ask for help. This can be a great way to reduce stress surrounding holiday planning and tasks.
- Reach Out. Mental health professionals are trained to provide help for those in need. Speak up and don’t try to handle your challenges alone. It’s also equally as important to reach out to others who may be in need.”
While this is indeed a joyous time for many, if not most, of us, there are those who become afflicted with the holiday blues. If you know someone who is, follow tip #5 and reach out. Helping someone else find some joy in the season may be the greatest gift you can give.