The weather outside might be frightful but inside it’s definitely worse. According to New York psychologist Jay Seitz, 25 per cent of people experience some kind of holiday anxiety or depression. That is, one in four people sipping eggnog feel like that stale, bland, unpopular fruitcake that was re-gifted five times before it was fed to the neighbor’s cat on Christmas Eve. Yes, the holidays do bring a magic and excitement to the month of December, but the stress, loneliness, and blues pre-packaged with the festivities can be enough to drag a quarter of us across the tenuous line from sanity to insanity.
Here are eight tips from psychology expert and Beyond Blue author Therese Borchard intended to keep you from hurling the mistletoe at Uncle Fred because he asked for the butter in the wrong tone of voice.
Find Your Kind of People
The good/bad news of holiday depression is that so many people suffer from it that it’s easy to find a person with whom to relate. It’s unfortunate that one-fourth of the US population would prefer to skip the month on December. However, this means that people who hide from carolers are certainly not alone — and, if they join up with the folks chucking holiday letters in the trash unopened, they will feel a companionship that can definitely lift their moods. The trick is identifying this 25 per cent.
Here’s a hint. They are typically the ones who don’t say much after the question, “How are you?” Or, if they do, their response is something like, “Okay…How are you?,” which is code for “How the hell do you think I am?” Stick with them.
Embrace Your Inner Slacker
Stress is usually the biggest culprit behind the holiday blues. Stress does bad, bad, bad things to your body, places toxins into your bloodstream, whacks out your heart and other organs. It produces hormones that can change your personality from that of June Cleaver to Sybil.
So your biggest chance at combatting holiday anxiety and depression is to eliminate as much stress as you can. And at that statement you just rolled your eyes, like I do every time my mom or my husband says that to me. I look at my to-do list and each item whispers, “You can’t cut me. You need me, remember?”
That’s when I take the red pen and start marking up the page. Christmas cards. Do I REALLY need to send 250 of them? No. Do I even need to send 50? Not really. Let’s put that on the “Would be nice if I have time” list. In other words, you need to embrace your inner slacker, and tell her that you need her help this holiday season.
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