Coupled with great (and often unmet) expectations of what the festive season will bring, these blood pressure can build up and cause stress, which if ignored may lead to mental health disorders, particularly depression. Holiday periods have been associated with higher levels of depression, and one study found that suicide rates expanded on the days following holidays. Another reported a 40% increment in suicides in the days following Christmas. Stress and depression not only have the potential to ruin the festivities, they also have appreciable negative health effects which may persist if ignored.
depression is the most common mental health condition seen by Australian general practitioners and amongst the leading causes of illness-related disability in the world. It is characterised by a persistently depressed mood, low self-esteem, self-criticism and lack of pleasure. People who are depressed usually feel more vulnerable and guilty than usual. They may be self-critical and distance themselves from other people. Depression also commonly produces feelings of hopelessness or helplessness and may leave affected individuals with difficulty sleeping and/or feeling fatigued.
Beating Holiday Stress
It is possible to get through the holiday frenzy without feeling frantic — if you know how. Here are top tips from some of the nation’s dominant stress experts.
The holidays really are the best of times and the lowest of times. Our tidings of comfort and joy can so easily be destroy by the insatiable stress to do it all, be it all, and buy it all. It increases your risk of illness and even death. One study, published in the Oct. Dealing with family tension
Just because you’re associated doesn’t mean your family members will all get along. Split families and unresolved conflicts may commit to Christmas anxiety. Family and relationship problems can be a trigger for anxiety.
Here are some ideas for getting through:
Set realistic expectations. Christmas might not be the fabulous family reconciliation you hoped for. Plan how you will conduct any feelings of anxiety or depression that may arise.
Put the kids first. If you have children, consider putting aside ongoing adult conflicts in their interest. Think about Christmas as a day for the kids and focus on permissive their happiness.
Drink in moderation. It may be tempting to drink too much during the festive period, but alcohol can contribute to stress, anxiety and depression. Alcohol may be a dilemma if you’re drinking to cope.
Avoid known triggers. If your family has a history of arguing over a certain topic, don’t bring it up.
What causes holiday blues?
Sadness is a truly personal feeling. What makes one person feel sad may not affect another person. Typical sources of holiday sadness include:
- Unrealistic expectations
- Financial stress
- The inability to be with one’s family and friends
General health and wellbeing
Try to be moderate – it may be the season to be jolly, but too much food and alcohol is adverse. Drink driving is a real danger and is illegal. If you can’t (or don’t want to) step off the social merry-go-round, at least try to eat and drink in restraint.
Get enough sleep – plan for as many early nights as you can.
Keep moving – keeping up your regular exercise routine can give you the fitness and stamina to make it through the application of the festive season.
Although the holidays can be a time for celebration and a return to the faith or values or people that help provide support for us, all of the expanded demands on our time, energy, patience, and flexibility can take a toll. People greeting each other with the expression “Happy Holidays!” can even be perceived by someone with depression as a demand or an expectation they cannot meet.
For those managing depression who may already be struggling with symptoms of fatigue, irritability, sadness, and feeling unable to cope with change or additional stress, the result of all the additional stress of the holidays can be simply feeling unable to meet those expectations, which can unfortunately lead to increased feelings of depression.
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