With all the joy the holidays can bring, some can get mired down in other emotions -- such as anxiety and depression.
The holiday blues can be brought on by stress, fatigue, finances, unattainable expectations and not being able to spend time with loved ones. These factors, coupled with the demands of shopping, entertaining and other holiday responsibilities can lead to headaches, excessive drinking, over eating and sleep difficulty.
Mental Health America of Putnam County offers these tips for coping with holiday-related stress and depression.
* Set realistic holiday goals by pacing yourself and managing your time efficiently. Make lists and prioritize.
* Spread activities out over the season instead of trying to cram everything into one day. Festivities can take place anytime; they don't have to happen on Thanksgiving or Christmas.
* Deal with and talk about feelings rather than hiding them.
* Don't compare this holiday season to ones in the past.
* Do something for others -- volunteer.
* Take part in activities that don't cost anything. Drive around and look at Christmas lights; plat in the snow or go window shopping.
* Limit alcohol intake. Drinking excessively can make feelings of depression worse.
* Spend time with people who care about you.
* Give other people some of your responsibilities, and take time for yourself.
The holidays may not be the only culprit in seasonal affective disorder. A release from MHAPC said studies have shown that depression can come on because people are exposed to fewer hours of sunlight during the winter months. Phototherapy, a treatment involving a few hours of exposure to intense light, has been proven effective for patients suffering from SAD.
For more information on SAD or phototherapy, call MHAPC at 653-3310.