As magical as the holiday season is for many, it remains a dark time for others. Many factors contribute to holiday depression, including financial stress, lack of nearby friends and family, seasonal affective disorder, too many commitments, and unrealistic expectations. Overeating, binge drinking, insomnia, and headaches are among the many problems the manifest from this type of depression. Rather than spending another holiday feeling sad and anxious, review a few tips from Sondra Sexton-Jones, MS, CT. The licensed counselor has provided the Juneau, AK, community with individual therapy, family counseling, and more for over 25 years.
Have a happier holiday by figuring out what helps you remain positive throughout the season with these tips:
Sidestep Family Conflict: Diffuse problematic interactions with family members by suggesting you discuss the issue another time. Think about a few topic possibilities before you attend a family gathering to keep the conversation light, or stay busy during the party by helping with decorations, providing kitchen assistance, or playing with the children.
Know Your Anxiety Triggers: Identify triggers that cause holiday depression and anxiety, such as the loss of a parent on or around the holiday, feelings of loneliness, or other points of contention. Give yourself the gift of new holiday traditions to eliminate annual gloom, such as organizing a dinner with friends, volunteering at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters, participating in Christmas house tours and other holiday events, and more.
Write It Out: Write out what makes you sad during the holiday season. Those who write about their feelings when they are upset are more likely to alleviate their stress and depression. Answer questions such as, “What would I like to do differently this holiday?” or “Why does the holiday season upset me?” Write for about 15 minutes a day for three to four days to feel better.
Consider individual therapy with Sondra Sexton-Jones, MS, CT if your holiday fog still hasn’t lifted. Attending therapy or support group meetings can help you explore feelings of depression and sadness and make it easier to come up with solutions to holiday blues. Figure out how to take care of your needs during the holidays—it’s the greatest gift you can give yourself.
For more on individual therapy, family counseling, grief counseling, and other services provided by Sondra Sexton-Jones, MS, CT, please call (907) 586-3313 or visit her on Facebook.