Jody-Anne Lawrence, Gleaner Writer
Christmas is the time for sharing and reflection. It is that time of year that everything just seems better and many of us are overjoyed to spend it with family and friends. However, there are some who might feel down and overwhelmed during this season.
Depression, a chronic illness that some of us may go through, is not something that we can just get over with a snap of the fingers. This being said, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy the holidays.
"Depression is an illness that may get worse during the holiday season. Though these tips may not help permanently, they will help the person to not feel so low during this time," clinical psychologist Doneisha Burke told Flair.
The first thing that she recommended was that persons do not stay home alone, but instead surround themselves with strength and support of the people that mean a lot to them.
"They should try their best not to be alone. This season is usually about family and when I say family it does not mean only blood related, it can be both family, friends anyone that you can rely on," Burke said.
Her second step was an extension of the first which was to participate in a charitable event. This also falls under the concept of not staying home alone. Once persons are engaging in an activity, it will help them to keep their minds off whatever it is that is bothering them. Going to a children's home or participating in feeding the impoverished/displaced will be a good deed that will help them to feel better while keeping them busy.
"Staying alone is sometimes what pushes someone into a deeper state of depression. When someone is alone and ruminate over their problems or just certain thoughts it adds up and weighs heavier on them emotionally and mentally. So it is best just not to get to that place," Burke said.
Lastly but not least she stated, "If people are religious they can turn to their respective churches and gain some support and comfort there as well."
When it comes to people being overwhelmed with their Christmas plans, Burke's first advice seems so simple but realy hard at the same time as mostpeople really forget to do.
Burke also recommends that people should use lists. Sometimes people tend to get overwhelmed because they leave things to the last minute and do not know where to begin. It always makes things easier when you take time to make a list and plan.
"Do not be afraid to delegate. You are only one person and no one can do it all by themselves so it is necessary to delegate. Christmas is about family and friends so get them involved," Burke told Flair. She went on to explain that you can incorporate the family and friends that might the coming over in preparing meals by asking them to each to prepare a dish. It will lessen the work load while at the same time serves as a bonding process when individuals get to share their recipes.
People should also not spread themselves thin. Burke highlighted that some persons feel the need to spend a lot during this season but she advises that people should not go above their means.
"You can get so much pleasure from some of the smallest things. Do not get into the Christmas temptation of spending a lot of money on things you don't need or maybe not use again," she emphasised.
The most important thing that she thinks people should not forget is themselves, so people should ensure that they get some 'me time'.
"They say that Christmas is the time for giving and they do just that forget themselves completely. This may cause them to not enjoy the holiday as much as they should. We all need time for ourselves to enjoy life," Burke said.
Mourning a Loss
Some people do not enjoy the season because they may have lost a loved one and have a hard time separating the holiday from that painful memory. Burke recommends that people take the time out and celebrate the life of that loved one.
"It is OK to reminisce. But remember the good, remember the light moments and celebrate that. It will help uplift your spirits," she said.
'Tis the season to be jolly and we can all do it together.