The Doctor Is In: Beating Holiday Blues

Content sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Health System 

The messages Happy Holidays and Joy to the World are all around us, in songs, greeting cards and everyday hellos. But, for some individuals, holiday depression or the Christmas or winter blues leaves them feeling down and sad. Henry Ford psychiatrist, Gregory Mahr, M.D. explains that while December can be a challenging time for individuals dealing with family conflict, loneliness or depression, a little planning may help you keep your mood on an even keel.

To manage both your physical and emotional demands refrain from over committing, overspending and expecting everything to be perfect just because it's the holidays, says Dr. Mahr.

If you're feeling isolated, consider volunteering or if you don't have holiday plans reach out to family or friends for an invitation rather than waiting for them to contact you.

The holidays are also a time when some individuals may experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that typically occurs when days become shorter and there is less natural sunlight.

Treatment options for SAD might include light therapy talk therapy, medication and vitamin D. Exercise, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting plenty of sleep, and a healthy diet may also help.

Symptoms of the Winter Pattern of SAD include:

· Having low energy

· Excessive sleepiness

· Overeating

· Carbohydrate cravings

· Social withdrawal/desire to hibernate

Missing a Loved One Holidays following the loss of a loved one will never be the same and mourning the loss of a parent, spouse, child, sibling, or other loved one can be emotionally trying says Peggy Nielsen, manager of Henry Ford SandCastles, a grief support program for children and families.

Nielsen says when it comes to grieving the loss of a loved one, its different for everyone. For instance, someone may not feel like decorating or continuing holiday traditions, and that's okay, but it is equally acceptable for an individual to want to decorate to honor a loved one. Sometimes decisions come easier when you ask yourself, what would your loved one would want you to do?

Projects such creating memory candles or a memory jar can help individuals and families remember and honor a loved one at the holidays.

Family members should discuss how they can make the holidays meaningful and bearable. Through compromise see if everyone can get a little of what they want and need.

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Surviving the Holidays
Help and hope as you navigate the Christmas season
Wondering how you will survive the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas? Are you dreading these holidays, knowing that everything has changed and that happy memories from past years can't be recreated?

Our Surviving the Holidays seminar is especially for people who are grieving a loved one's death.

You'll learn:

How to deal with the many emotions you'll face during the holidays
What to do about traditions and other coming changes
Helpful tips for surviving social events
How to discover hope for your future
 

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