Is there really such a thing as holiday depression?

People often feel blue during the holidays. They rush around shopping, decorating, and cooking; are inviting people to their homes and are being invited to others’.

But are they having fun?

Often during the holiday season people are so rushed and have so much expected of them that they don't realize how tired and worn out they are.

This is also the time of the year when the weather is cold, and snow or ice-filled streets make everything an effort. The lack of sunlight seems to affect everyone's mood.

What can you do to keep the blues from catching you?

Get enough rest.

Take time to exercise.

Take time for yourself.

Do things in small doses, instead of all at once.

Lower your expectations— don’t expect everything to be perfect.

During the holidays, things that have not been going well seem to be magnified. Many relationships and marriages do not survive the holidays. From too much togetherness, families argue and have hostile or explosive gatherings.

How can you prevent relationship problems from occurring?

Don’t have unrealistic ideas about any event.

Don't drink too much alcohol.

Avoid controversial subjects at family gatherings.

If you know other family members’ “hot buttons,” make a decision not to engage in those discussions.

Don't measure your gift giving against any other family members’ gifts.

Don't use the holidays as a time to either correct a problem or seek justice for a past feeling of being wronged. If you want your family get-together to work well, be on your best manners. There will be time to straighten out family feuds when everyone is less stressed.

When it is time to try and make repairs, or if you have that argument you have been holding back, follow these tips:

Pick the right time.

Say how you feel — not how you think the other person feels.

Listen to the other side and paraphrase their statement (Are you saying that…?).

Think resolution, not winning.

Don’t think you’re a victim.

Compromise, compromise!

Don't whine.

Rehearse if you need to.

Forgive and Forget

If you made a mistake and had a nasty confrontation, why should you be the one to forgive?

Holding on to grievance hurts you more than the other person.

Forgiveness demonstrates strength and courage.

When you forgive, you become free of anger, hurt, and pain.

If you are feeling depressed or angry, counseling can help. It can crystallize your ideas or show you how off-base your ideas may be.

Don't be afraid to get the help you need. You can feel better all year long.


© 2006 All rights reserved. |  Last revised by R. Cohen on January 21, 2006.