HEALTH & FITNESS - Holiday blues
Published: Monday | December 14, 2009
There is just something about this season which generally puts people in a cheerful mood. For many, it is the festive happenings and celebratory gatherings with the coming together of families and friends, along with the variety of food and drinks, that make the Christmas holidays eagerly anticipated.
Locally, there is no doubt that Christmas is the only holiday season that brings families together and encourages giving and sharing. But while it is the season to be jolly, there are many persons who aren't so excited when this time of the year approaches. For them, this season only serves to emphasise aspects of their lives that are overwhelming, throwing them into a state of holiday depression.
According to psychologist Sydney McGhil, there are various factors that could contribute to this state. "Christmas holiday symbolises connections and having memorable good times, but this can bring out the opposite for some. Break-ups, cheating, betrayal, disappointment, death of a loved one, and, depending on how one has dealt with conflict and trauma, can bring back pain during this season."
McGhil mentioned that loneliness, for whatever reason, is also a factor that can be enough to give someone the blues during the Christmas season. This usually affects adults, especially those in their mid-30s for whom, Dr McGhil says, there is an obvious change in behaviour. "There is usually a sense of sadness, they tend not to talk too much and become more introverted, they are anxiety-prone and easily irritated. They sometimes get so down that they can't see a future."
While people may be affected by holiday depression for various reasons at this time of year, McGhil notes two common reasons that trigger this.
"Holiday depression is seasonal, and the Christmas season is a pretty stressful period with a lot of activities. It affects many single women who are longing for partners. And there are men with multiple partners and children who at this time become stressed out. They have to find money for the different households to satisfy all, to live up to the expectations".
Recognising this type of depression or sadness is the first step in dealing with it. The psychologist says there are different ways to overcome the blues:
1. Recognise that the thoughts and feelings you are having are not unique. Many have felt the same way at some point in their lives.
2. Look at your strengths and talents to lift your spirits.
3. Make an effort to socialise. Go to parties, even if it's done alone and just have a grand time with yourself (women who are not actively looking for a partner tend to find one easier).
4. If you attend church, take part in the various activities.
5. Don't be on the receiving end at all times, be a giver too. Reach out to the less fortunate and make someone happy. If you don't have a gift, give of your time. It is just as valuable.
6. Be positive, people are attracted to positive thinkers.
It is now time to lift your spirits, occupy your time and beat the blues this Christmas!