"It's the most wonderful time of the year" sing the carolers. But for many people, the holidays from Thanksgiving till New Year can be cause for depression. The holidays are times of high expectations, jammed calendars and memories of the past. All of these things can trigger depression which can cause behaviors that may make things worse.
Every year many people put great stress on themselves by trying to create "the perfect" holiday. There are homes to be decorated, food to be prepared, gifts to be bought and wrapped and people to be entertained. Trying to do this while still maintaining work schedules, school schedules and regular homelife can be overwhelming. As time to the big day gets closer and closer, a feeling of failure can trigger depression.
Because people are busy, some important self-caretaking can be dropped. The time demands and the darkness outside may have regular exercisers dropping their routine. Exercise increases levels of the mood-boosting brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine. When people don't exercise they lose those helpful chemicals. Then there are all the food choices to be made around the holidays. Most of us do not usually have six dozen fat and sweet cookies sitting on the table year round. Gaining weight through the holidays is typical and can be depressing. In addition, we tend to eat more sugar. Sugar is a substance which will originally elevate mood, but then comes the sugar crash and depresses the mood.
As depression begins to occur, many people try to relieve the anxiety that comes with depression by drinking alcohol. This self-medication may be a temporary fix for depression but soon causes more harm than good as it interferes with sleep, depresses the central nervous system and may interact with any antidepresants being taken. While some people drink, other people begin to withdraw from family and friends. Social withdrawal will in actuality increase depression.
So avoid the depression traps of overeating, self-medicating with alcohol, food or sugar or social withdrawal. Hypnotherapy can be a great tool to help you deal with the stresses and depression traps of the holidays. BE WELL and have a happy holiday season.