Holiday Coping Tips: Stress, Depression, Overeating & Family
The holidays are upon us once again, so I thought this would be an ideal time to review some of the common problems people experience during the holidays as well as some tips for coping with these problems. The main problems people experience are increased depression (or feeling blue), feeling overwhelmed by stress and pressure, and overeating.
Holiday depression is common and perhaps up to 10 percent of the population suffers from it to some degree or another. It is usually related to the holiday season because it brings back memories of a happier time in our lives. We may remember spending past holidays with a loved one who is no longer with us. Or we may get depressed by seeing so many others who have someone special in their lives — whether it be their family, close friends, or a significant other — to share the season with. Or it may be a combination of these things and others, such as dealing with an ongoing mental disorder.
Stress is increased during the holidays due to a number of factors as well. Old family arguments are often reignited during the holidays, lines are longer everywhere you go shopping, parking spaces are impossible to find, and you often must schedule your life to try and get to three places all at the same time.
Overeating is another common holiday-related problem. With an abundance of food and drink available for many family gatherings, it is often the case where we overeat. Many people also use overeating as a way of coping with the increased stress or feelings of depression during this time of the year.
Whatever the reason for suffering from these problems, there are some things you can do to try to ward them off, or at least minimize their impact in your life. The holidays are first and foremost a time of spirituality and a recognition of special religious events.
Often this may be a good time to renew your spiritual beliefs and spend more time in contemplation of religion and spirituality. If you haven’t been to church or synagogue in years, for instance, now may be a good time to think about going again. I don’t think spirituality alone has all the answers to any of the world’s problems or people’s personal problems. But it can be an important aspect to understanding your life, your motivations, and your relationships with others.
Take Time for Yourself
Beyond spirituality, you can consider turning to those activities and hobbies which have often helped you in the past. This may mean volunteering more time at a local hospital or nursing home. Or devoting more time to writing, sewing, woodworking, fixing up things around the house, going to the library, reading, or any of a number of other activities.
By working on keeping your mind focused on those things which bring you pleasure and which you enjoy doing, you may help ward off negative feelings or the holiday blues. This is certainly no “cure-all,” but it can be a helpful thing to try to do more of. If public places remind you of sad feelings or memories, you may just want to avoid them as much as possible this holiday season.