The end of the year is a time of much celebration in western culture.
However, there is an increasing awareness that for some folks, the end of the year holidays is not the happy time of cheer and goodwill that it is supposed to be, but a stressful time, eliciting anxiety and sometimes overt depression.
For those who are separated from or without family and friends, it is a lonely time and the fact that everyone seems to be spending time with family and friends compounds this sense of isolation.
Others are suffocated by the unrealistic expectations of expensive Christmas gifts without the financial resources to make them possible, exhausting cooking sprees and superficial goodwill as long feuds are put on the backburner in the name of the holiday spirit.
Not being able to spend time with family or conversely, spending too much time with family can all lead to Christmas depression and holiday depression.
The added stresses, unrealistic expectations and fatigue of the season can also contribute to 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.
Some holiday depression stressors are: - The frenetic activities of the holidays can place a not insignificant burden on already full schedules.
- The costs involved with end of year vacations and Christmas presents can place a major burden on already stretched budgets.
- Separation or divorce can leave people celebrating Christmas and the holiday season alone.
- People who have lost a loved one are especially mindful of that loss.
Some stressors cannot be avoided, however, there are a number of suggestions that can ease Christmas and holiday depression and keep it at a minimum.
Schedule parties and obligations wisely.
Don't try and cram another responsibility into the already over filed timetable, rather take some time to care for yourself with a quiet afternoon alone with a good book or a hot bubble bath 2.
Set reasonable time goals and employ time management shopping techniques - shop online or by mail order.
Try and remember to do your Christmas shopping during the off-peak season next year.
Remember that unique, thoughtful and handmade gifts often much more pleasure than a gift bought out of obligation.
Set reasonable financial goals based on what your budget can afford.
Be particularly mindful of diet during the holiday season.
High sugar and non complex carbohydrate foods typical of the holidays will only make depression matters worse.
As will your bulging jeans after the excessive eating is over.
Allow indulgences during the holidays, but with limitations.
Put old issues aside when dealing with family.
If that is not possible, consider limiting the time spent.
Recognize the sadness of absent loved ones instead of denying the reality of their memory.
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 that happy to reach out.
Take time out to be self-reflective and consider what the season means to you.
Sometimes thinking about how you feel and why can help you get a grip on it.
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.
Remember that Christmas depression is not permanent.
Moods typically improve once the holidays are over.
Although there are many easily identifiable causes for holiday depression, there are also some people who cannot pinpoint the exact cause of their Christmas depression.
They know they are "supposed to" feel happy during the holiday season but instead of feeling happy, the flat, lackluster cloud of depression hangs over them.
Regardless of the whether you are able to identify the cause of depression during Christmas and the holiday season, sufferers of depression during the holiday season might experience excess fatigue, a change in sleeping patterns, irritability and feelings of sadness.
People who do not display the outward symptoms of depression during Christmas and the holiday season might develop other stress responses like over eating or excessive drinking.
Remember that it is not permanent.
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