Friday, 23 December 2016

How To Kiss The Holiday Blues Away
Ever been that person standing near the holiday punch bowl looking around the room wondering what everyone’s so merry about? It happens. In some of us, the holiday blues are alive and well.  As festive and joyous as this season can be, it can also illicit the exact opposite feelings. But before you go spiraling into another round of holiday tears, read along. I gathered up some heart-warming words of encouragement from Dr. Freda Jones, a licensed psychotherapist, who offered up some constructive ways to navigate those pesky holiday blues.

Why do the holidays tend to illicit these harder feelings?
Holidays can be difficult because it’s at these times that we reminisce about ” the good ole times,” and others may expect more from us than we feel mentally capable of delivering.
If you don’t have family around for holidays, what can you do to not feel down and lonely?
The holidays can offer a great opportunity to find “new” family and friends and reach out to those who may also be alone or away from family.
Holiday blues are real! What’s a quick fix for feeling better?
“Exercise your right to ‘choose” where you place your focus. We can’t always choose what life throws at us, but we can always choose how we respond to it!
There seems to be tremendous ambiguity or shame associated with the topic of depression. What are some notable signs of identifying it within ourselves or someone we love?
Depression is a serious mental health condition that is easily diagnosed and treatable by a behavioral health professional.  It is quite different from just “having the blues.” Changes in these five areas may signal the need for professional care:
1. Appetite ( increase or decrease)
2. Weight (gain or loss)
3. Concentration ( inability to focus)
4. Sleep patterns ( insomnia or oversleeping)
5. Loss of pleasure (anhedonia)
If any these symptoms persists for more than two weeks, seek professional advice.
How can one navigate through the pain of having lost a loved one during this time of year?
Losses that occur around a holiday can be difficult to address.  Choosing to focus on fond memories of your loved one can help to decrease sad feelings.  The old adage “time is the greatest healer” is really true in this instance, because as time passes, the pain can be less acute.
What can friends and loved ones do to demonstrate support to someone who is battling depression? 
The best approach is to be sensitive to what the individual is going through and ask them for guidance regarding their needs.  Be supportive, but not pushy, and encourage self care.  If your concerns about them persist, encourage them to seek professional help.
Besides therapy, what are the things a person cad do on a day-to-day basis to navigate hard times?  Are there any sort of “at-home” daily practices you would recommend?
Ever heard of  the term “stinkin’ thinkin’?” So much of how we feel and our behavior is the result of what we are thinking—about self, others, the world, etc. An ancient philosopher, Epictetus, put it this way: “It’s not the events of life that cause us pain but our thinking about them!”

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