Our two most recent posts have expanded on suggestions for holiday season survival that were made by the Mayo Clinic staff in an article summed up with these words:
Take control of the holidays. Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown.
This was so inspiring, Childhood Obesity News searched out more ways to take control of the holidays… or, at the very least, to cancel out the holiday season’s efforts to take control of us. According to Vail Health Foundation, a survey originated by the National Alliance on Mental Illness confirmed that the holidays contribute a lot of sadness and depression:
Of those surveyed, 68 percent reported feeling financially strained, 63 percent said there was too much pressure, and 57 percent said they had unrealistic expectations. Approximately 24 percent of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40 percent “somewhat” worse.
The Foundation suggests a strong and helpful rule: “Don’t punish yourself for not feeling celebratory.” Also, be organized, with a realistic notion of how much can be done within a given time frame. Recognize priorities, control your expectations, and resolve not to be tyrannized by others. (Where do some people get their tremendous sense of entitlement concerning their own expectations, anyway?)
When feeling depressed and hopeless, do something in the volunteer realm, either one-on-one or through an organization. Helping somebody else is a remedy that, while not infallible, has been widely vouched for.
We have discussed body-focused repetitive behaviors, like skin picking disorder and trichotillomania, which in many ways are similar to disordered eating patterns. For confirmation, take a look at “50 Ways to Stop Pulling Your Hair.” A lot of the preventative self-help strategies can be effective against either hair plucking or compulsive overeating.
Here is a seldom-mentioned way in which we could all help others. Don’t be a coaxer. If somebody says “No thanks” to dessert or a drink, leave them be. If you think they are having a rough time, do something tangible, like shovel their car out of a snowdrift. If all you can offer is easy words, just keep them. Try not to delude yourself into believing that someone needs encouragement to loosen up and stop working so hard and let themselves have a good time. They don’t. When a person has self-imposed behavioral limits, or just plain doesn’t feel like doing what you think would be good for them, be a true friend and drop it.
And if you need help, seek it.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “5 Tips for Dealing with Stress and Depression During the Holidays,” VailHealthFoundation.org, 12/08/20
Image by Ron Frazier/CC BY 2.0