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Month: December 2016

Tips to Avoid the Holiday Blues

The holidays provide joy and happiness for many. Time off from work, quality time with family and annual traditions generate feelings of warmth and love. But it also can activate many negative emotions for some people. There are many causes for this collection of symptoms that has come to be known as the “Holiday Blues.”

Causes

Decreased exercise

People tend to not exercise as much during the holidays, which can contribute to depression.

Having trouble sleeping

Due to the increase in traveling, scheduling and time spent with family and friends, some people get less sleep than normal. This could lead to a decrease in positive emotion and motivation.

Emotions of lost loved ones

While spending time with family can be very enjoyable, sometimes it can produce the opposite effects. Being around close friends and family can lead to remembering a loved one that has passed away.

Overeating and overdrinking

The holiday festivities can involve indulging in food and alcohol. When either one of these things is consumed at a high rate, it can have adverse effects on one’s physical and mental health.

Stress

Examples of this can be financial,  dealing with schedules, planning and

returning to one’s hometown.

Unrealistic Expectations

It’s easy to get excited about the holidays, but when reality sets in, you can find yourself feeling disappointed. Whether it’s someone not getting as excited about their gifts as they were, or a party not going as expected, it’s possible the holidays won’t live up to what your idea of a perfect holiday was supposed to be.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

This can be related to shorter days and a lack of sunlight.

Symptoms

Negative feelings

This could be in the form of depression, sadness and discouragement feeling of hopelessness

Loss of interest

This could be a decrease of interest in things once found pleasurable.

Eating more or less than usual

Negative emotions can lead to binge eating or a suppression of appetite.

Weight gain or loss

Because of the possibility of an increase or decrease in appetite, weight fluctuation could follow.

Sleep deprivation

Because of the effects depression can have on falling asleep, sleep deprivation can be a resulting symptom.

Lack of energy

This could be the result of a lack of sleep and a change in daily habits and nutrition intake.

Withdrawal from others

There could be many causes for this. It could be the loss of a loved one or the recoil of proximity due to emotional comfort.

Difficulty thinking clearly

A decrease in sleep and straying from a normal routine can lead to a difficulty focusing and thinking clearly.

Treatment

Spend time outdoors

Studies have shown that being outside can help with depressive traits. The natural air, the sun and the calming natural beauty of the great outdoors can ease the mind and help fight causes of depression.

Limit eating out of boredom or downtime

This will help with overeating. Find something else to do during this time.

Keep healthy sleep habits

Stay on track with normal routines and habits. This will keep your physical and mental health by staying on a normal rhythm.

Plan accordingly

By planning your travel and other holiday logistics, it takes some of the stress away from what should be an enjoyable time of the year.

Exercise

Exercise releases brain chemicals that calm the mind. It also reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.

Find proximity balance

Finding the right amount of time to spend alone will help you relax your mind and body.

Sometimes people can confuse the Holiday Blues with SAD. While both can exist at the same time, it is important to talk to your doctor if symptoms persist. He or she can help you find a treatment that is appropriate for you.