Holidays can be a stressful time. The Lorain County Board of Mental Health offers a popular booklet, “Coping with the Holidays,” full of tips for managing the potential stress of family gatherings and memories, either painful or joyful.
Excerpts from “Coping with the Holidays” booklet:
The holiday season is ideally the happiest time of the year. However, it is often one of the most difficult, and depression is common. One explanation for the “unexplainable” depression is expecting too much. The holidays, in fact, become a time of “too much”: doing too much, eating too much, drinking too much, and spending too much.
The holidays can be painful for those who have lost or are separated from a loved one. Coping with separation and loss is magnified during the holidays. People may feel pressured to celebrate the holidays, while their world seems to be falling apart.
Allow them to talk about their feelings and memories, and try to get them involved in new activities. Change your traditional pattern in some way: have the family dinner at a different place, or open the gifts at a different time. Create new rituals and family traditions. Don’t let a person spend too much time alone. If a person becomes depressed, help is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-888-6161.
Once the flurry of holiday activities comes to an end, the friends and family have returned home, and we must resume our daily routine, we may experience post-holiday stress or depression. We feel the loss of increased support we received from family and friends throughout the season. We are no longer caught up in getting a million and one things done, so we need to find things to look forward to in the upcoming days.