Beat the Holiday Blues Away By Online Therapy

By Mommy Donna and Kib - December 21, 2018

Holidays are the best time to be connected with family and friends.  We make use of this time-off from work to spend quality time with our loved ones and friends whom we haven't seen for a long time.  We post holiday photos to show how we spent it.  Holidays put smile on our faces because serves as a moment for us to forget about the daily stresses that we experience at work.

Or so we thought....

Holidays can also bring stress in our lives.  We need to prepare for the holidays like the buying the gifts, cleaning the house, planning the menu, or even packing our luggages (if we thought of going out-of-town).  Because of this, there is a tendency for us not to enjoy the actual holiday because we already got too tired of the preparations that we did.  Worse, during holidays, we might be disturbed by our bosses because of some emergency at work.  

So are you really enjoying the holidays?  There are actually lots of reasons why there is a tendency for us not to enjoy the holidays.

There is actually what you call seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  SAD is a type of depression which occurs seasonally, usually on the same time every year.  Most of the time SAD is experienced during fall and winter and is less common in spring and summer.

An individual may be considered with SAD if he/she experiences the following signs and symptoms:

  • Depression almost every day
  • Losing interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Low energy
  • Sleeping problems (oversleeping in winter and insomia in summer)
  • Changes in appetite (craving for certain food in winter and lack of appetite in summer)
  • Changes in weight (weight gain in winter and weight loss in summer)
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless or guilty
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

What are the usual causes of SAD?

An individual who is a candidate for SAD may experience the following:

  • Stress 
  • Fatigue (from preparing for the holidays or catching up the deadlines to be met before the holidays)
  • Unrealistic expectations (wanting to create a 'perfect' holiday experience)
  • Commercialization (when there is an intense need to celebrate the holidays because of the things that we see around us, the decorations, promotions, etc.)
  • Financial stress (when you don't have that much money to spend during the holidays)
  • Inability to be with family and friends during holidays (common for those individuals who have jobs far away from the family or those who work during holidays)

It's normal to experience holiday blues at times, but if the individual is already withdrawing himself/herself from having a normal social life, experiencing problems at work and school, into substance abuse, developed other mental problems such as eating disorders, and thoughts of suicide, the individual must consult a professional.

I don't know of anyone who is suffering of SAD but to tell you honestly, this holiday season is not exciting for me.  In my experience working from home for the past 11 years, working during holidays is nothing new to me.  I am already used to the set-up.  But I noticed that this year, I was too consumed on meeting deadlines of my several engagements that I wasn't able to find time to arrange stuff for the holidays.  I wasn't able to track down the dates that I have a tendency to do last-minute preparations.  I even miss attending some social events for the sake of finishing deadlines.  But hey, don't think that I'm experiencing SAD, maybe you can call it adulting instead, haha.

Kidding aside, let's try to prevent holiday blues!  Here are some tips to avoid getting depressed during holidays:

  • Make realistic expectations during holidays.  Don't push yourself too much in creating a perfect holiday experience to your family.  Sometimes, things don't work out as planned and it makes us sad.  Learn to accept that booboos may happen and prepare for another plan if ever.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.  Put limitations on yourself.  Learn how to say no.
  • Pace yourself.  Do not take on more responsibilities than what you can handle.  Just do whatever is workable on your timetable and energy.  Be honest to yourself that you cannot do everything and you need help.
  • Make a list and prioritize the important activities.  This can help make holiday tasks more manageable.  
  • Don't pull out all your energy in one day.  Spread out your activities into different holidays.  For example, go to your parent's house on Christmas and go to your in-laws' house on New Year.
  • Live in the moment and enjoy the present.  Learn how to relax and not think too much of the future holidays.
  • Find holiday activities that are free, like going to watch holiday shows inside shopping malls or walking to a certain street full of holiday decorations.
  • Keep track of your holiday spending.  Put a cap on each expenditure.  Better if you plan ahead so you can save money and energy too!  Shopping on holidays can be stressful, lines on counters are long and prices are high.
  • Limit the alcohol consumption.  Too much alcohol drinking can also trigger depression.

Lastly, there is nothing wrong if you consult a professional should symptoms persist.  This only means that you acknowledge that there is something wrong within you and you need someone to help you out sort things for yourself.  If you are too shy to get help in person, you may wish to schedule for an online therapy.  Don't worry, your records will be treated with confidentiality and the therapists will adjust to your availability, not you as a patient finding time to meet your therapist.  

Want to learn more about online therapy?  Check out this link for more info:

Let's try to enjoy this holiday season and spend quality time with our loved ones!

Happy Holidays!

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