Ten Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress
By Mark Sichel, LCSW
We all look forward to the holidays and hope that they will be a time of happiness, friendliness, fellowship, and harmony. Yet often our anticipation and excitement turns into feelings of depression and/or family disharmony.
Part of what happens in the holiday season, in terms of mood changes and anxiety, may occur because of the stressfulness of holiday events. It may also be caused by overdrinking, overeating, and fatigue. The demands of the season are many: shopping, cooking, and travel house guests, family reunions, parties, office parties, and extra financial burden.
Sometimes people who are not generally depressed actually struggle with holiday depression. Symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, intestinal problems, and unnecessary conflict with family and friends.
Here are some tools to get through the holiday season happily—as well as ways to prevent problems and misery for yourself and your loved ones:
If you keep only one thing in mind to combat the holiday blues, make it be to remember: The choice is always yours: The sky is partly sunny, and the glass is half full, if you want it to be that way. Depression is usually a clinical disorder, but sometimes "the blues" confront all of us, particularly at holiday time. It may be caused by the memory of loss, feelings of disappointment, or just being run down from parties, overeating, and drinking. But for many of us, holiday depression can be a choice we, in effect, choose to make. If we choose not to make this choice, we can choose instead to focus on the partly sunny skies and revel in our gratitude for our bounty, health, hope, and our courage to face each day with hope and determination.
Copyright 2004: Mark Sichel is a psychotherapist, consultant, and speaker on a broad range of issues related to family, mental health, and interpersonal problems. He is the editor and principal author of the award winning self-help website, www.psybersquare.com. For a more detailed guide to overcoming the panic brought on by dysfunctional family experiences, read Mark Sichel's new book, Healing From Family Rifts : Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off From a Family. For more information about this book visit the author's website: www.marksichel.com
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