According to music legend Andy Williams, the holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year.” However, rather than feeling the positive vibes of “the hap-happiest season of all” or warmly receiving “everyone telling you to be of good cheer,” many of us struggle to find peace, joy, or hope during the holidays.
HOLIDAY STRESS & DEPRESSION
For those battling depression, it often increases during the holiday season. For others, depression can creep in when least expecting it with the onset of intensified life stressors. For many of us, the holidays bring heightened levels of anxiety due to time restrictions, social pressures, and financial restraints.
The holidays tend to increase relational friction as we rise to meet the expectations of loved ones, navigate difficult relationships, and engage in challenging social situations. In addition, the holidays are often a season of grieving as we reflect on changes we have experienced and loved ones we have lost.
All these stressors can feel overwhelming! When levels of stress exceed our ability to cope, we experience what’s called an allostatic overload and experience psychological and physiological effects.
Common depressive symptoms include loss of energy, decreased motivation, diminished interest, increased sleep disturbance, increased feelings of sadness, emptiness, and frustration, and a lack of hopefulness.
If any of the above describes you or a loved one; take heart, there is hope!
FINDING HOPE DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Those struggling with depression not only feel hopeless, but they also often feel helpless. Hope for dealing with depression starts with an understanding that there is help. Help comes in many forms from ways one can help themselves and seek help from a professional. Here is a list of helpful habits to consider this holiday season:
HAVE A PLAN:
■ Plan Ahead: Plan for your holiday gatherings. Consider determining in advance which gatherings you will attend, who you will go with, how you will get there, and when you will leave. Making these decisions in advance can help you avoid unnecessary anxiety.
■ Build a Budget: Prepare a budget for your holiday spending. Consider creating a financial plan for who you will buy gifts for and how much each gift will cost. Determining these purchases in advance can help you minimize unplanned or emotional spending.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF:
■ Self-Care: Prioritize self-care during the holidays. Consider a strategy of self-care that will help you strengthen your overall physical, emotional, and mental health. To care for and give to others, you often need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself.
■ Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness during the holidays. Consider a daily routine of mindfulness exercises to help you increase your ability to stay present, heighten your awareness of what’s happening around you, and decrease your feelings of being overwhelmed.
■ Diet: Be intentional with your relationship with food and alcohol during the holidays. Consider some form of meal planning during the holiday season to help you manage your nutritional and caloric intake, monitor your emotional eating, and curb your social drinking.
■ Exercise: Be purposeful in your physical activity during the holidays. Consider a daily or weekly exercise goal to help you burn some calories, increase your cardio, and release some endorphins. Research reveals that a regular regiment of exercise significantly decreases levels of anxiety.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP:
■ See a Counselor: Schedule a counseling session with a therapist during the holidays. Consider meeting with a professional to explore your feelings, identify your emotional, relational, and mental health goals, and gain strategies to improve your overall well-being.
■ Start TMS Treatments: Schedule a consultation for TMS during the holidays. Consider TMS treatments as a viable long-term solution to minimize the symptoms of depression.
What is TMS?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to diminish symptoms of depression. TMS treatments are non-invasive, non-drug, and non-ETC. TMS is FDA cleared and approved by most major insurance companies. Additionally, clinical research also has found TMS effective for weight loss.
LiveWell Behavioral Health offers NeuroStar TMS: Our highly trained team of professionals at LiveWell are ready to help you determine if TMS is right for you. Give us a call at (321) 259-1662 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your free consultation.
Stay well this holiday season,