by J. Lee
Holidays: The Season of Depression is Upon Us
Depression increases during the months of November through February. Those alone face that reality of loneliness during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve and Valentines Day.
Single people are reminded how alone they are during the season of celebration. They cannot escape the season thanks to advertisements, displays in stores and postings on social media.
Holidays can be the loneliest time. Those who are older may have outlived their family members. Seniors may have no one. Some in the military or in college might be away from family for the first time. The recently divorced and widowed find themselves alone. The holidays reinforce feelings of isolation.
Holiday blues are well known by therapists. Many who are lone will withdraw even more through self-inflicted isolation. They lose their will to interact. They feel like they are on the outside looking in. Sadly, suicide rates escalate during holiday months.
Seasonal stress increases during the holidays. Even those who are not alone find the holidays very difficult. They often find themselves feeling let down by unmet expectations.
MedicineNet (Holiday Depression, Anxiety, and Stress) – Many factors, including unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and excessive commitments can cause stress and anxiety at holiday time. Certain people may feel anxious or depressed around the winter holidays due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as seasonal depression.
Social media is an illusion. Limit your time on it. Keep your scrolling time in moderation. Avoid comparing your life to those who post photos of gatherings that paint pictures which might not be accurate. Resist comparing your life to others.
Exercise helps with physical and mental well being. Exercise releases endorphins which diminish the perception of pain. The brain manufactures them. They act as a sedative. They are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Unlike morphine, they are not addicting nor do they create a dependence like drugs and alcohol do. But exercising as a habit does lead to a desire to continue to do so.
These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
An improved diet can help. Avoid fatty foods. Avoid high sugar intake of candy, dessert and food.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Exhaustion can have detrimental effects on health.
Practice self-care through a healthy diet and exercise.
Everyday Health: 10 Foods I Eat Every Day to Beat Depression – Here is a list of 10 foods I eat every day now in order to feel good. These foods provide the nutrients my body needs to fight off inflammation in my brain, which leads to depression.
Those with faith should focus on the ‘Reason of the Christmas season’. Jesus gives hope. Speak to clergy. Seek prayer.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO COUNTER DEPRESSION AND LONELINESS
- Avoid social isolation. Don’t escape life, but find activities that can bring joy.
- Join social groups, volunteer and be with people to keep you from being alone. Find people to enjoy the holidays with.
- Join a support group where you talk to people with similar experiences as yours who can help.
- Talk to someone close to you or with someone you trust. Expressing your feelings is a healthy way to relieve stress.
- Find ways to relax. Find a hobby you enjoy such as gardening, crafts, writing and artistic endeavors.
- Listen to inspirational CD’s or read books with positive messages that provide inspiration and joy.
- Keep a journal to write your thoughts and express your feelings.
- Hold on to happy memories while making more happy memories.
- Reach out and talk to someone. Don’t harbor destructive thoughts.
Avoid social isolation. Bottom line, be with other people.