The holidays season is the time of year when many of us become susceptible to stress that may lead to depression.
The weather has turned chilly, and the calendar on your desk is getting thinner. All clues that the end of another year is upon us and that the holiday season has arrived in full force.
For all of us, this is the time of year that we have come to look forward to and/or to dread. It is a time for special gatherings with family, friends, and co-workers. Or, maybe this is a time of year when one remembers a loved one who is no longer among us. Still, maybe this is a time of year when being alone and the feeling of loneliness is a concern. The holiday season is also a time of added pressures to do more with the same amount of time and sometimes less energy to do it with. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are practical strategies you can follow that can help manage the stress and overwhelm, and ultimately reduce the incidence of depression. Following are a few helpful ideas to assist you with making the most of the holiday season.
Manage Holiday Stress—Don't Let Stress Manage You
- Keep expectations for the season realistic; therefore, set goals that are reasonable for you. Before beginning a task, make a list and prioritize the important activities.
- Recognize your own limitations and don't over-do it. There is no need to attend every social gathering or to create the perfect social event.
- Learn to delegate the holiday chores. It is not necessary to try to do everything by yourself.
- Know your spending limit and stay on budget. With today's economy and cutbacks, it is important to respect one's financial limitations.
- Take a time out. After completing a holiday task, take time to relax and make sure to get enough rest.
- Remember to eat healthy, nutritious food, as you would do any other time of the year. Also, drink plenty of water and juices. Maintaining a healthy diet will help support your immune system, reduce fatigue, and fight illness.
- Try to maintain an exercise routine. Researchers have found that exercise is an excellent treatment to alleviate depression.
- The holiday season does not mean that you will not have difficult feelings. It is important to acknowledge one's feelings, even if you keep them to yourself.
- Try to look to the future with an optimistic perspective despite difficulties of the past. Find ways to see the good in challenging experiences.
- Participate in holiday activities that are free and light-hearted. Plan to attend festive activities that do not require large amounts of travel time.
- Volunteer for a charitable organization(s) that reach out to the needy, or contribute to community food drives in your neighborhood.
- Spend time with supportive and caring friends and/or family, if possible. Yet, should you find yourself alone, then be certain to schedule enjoyable activities into your free time.
- In conclusion, try a little laughter. Research psychologists have found that humor improves one's sense of overall well being.
- Sometimes it is necessary to ask for assistance in order to get through difficult times.
References and Resources
- American Psychological Association, 1996-1997.
- National Mental Health Association, 2001.
- Pollock, K. M., Exercise In Treating Depression: Broadening the Psychotherapist's Role, Journal of Clinical Psychology/In Session, Vol. 57 (11), 2001, pp. 1289-1300.
- Goldstein, J.H., Therapeutic Effects of Laughter. Fry, W.F. and Salameh, W.A. (Eds.), Handbook of Humor and Psychotherapy—Advances in the Clinical Use of Humor, 1987, pp. 1-19.
Source: UC San Francisco Human Resources
Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) offers confidential, cost-free assessment, counseling, consultation and referral services to all UC Davis Health System faculty, staff, and their family members. Whether the problem is work-related, personal, career or relationship focused, ASAP can assist you in evaluating and resolving the problem.
You can call ASAP at 916-734-2727 for an appointment