Planning ahead to beat 'the holiday blues'

Balance key in keeping stress down

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Now that Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season has officially started, there is a lot of excitement at this time of year, but many people experience what is sometimes called, "the holiday blues."

President and CEO of Daniel, Jim Clark says the holiday season for some can be a very stressful time.

"During the holidays we find ourselves facing the stressful demands of shopping, cooking, travel, and even entertaining house guests," Clark says. "So I think it is good to reflect that while this is a great time of year, we need to take care of ourselves to prevent stress, fatigue, and even depression."

Clark offers parents out there some advice on how to curb stressful holiday activities that may lead to the blues during the holiday season:

- Be reasonable with your schedule: You cannot go to every party; nor should your child. The last thing you want to do is overbook yourself and be at an event when you are irritable. Remember, it is the holidays.

- Decide what your priorities are and stick to them: Lots of therapists will tell you to stay active during the holidays and engage in activities where you are giving back. Indeed, this is a very healthy approach. Understand that feelings of sadness, anger, and loneliness, can be overcome when you are giving to others.

- Let go of family resentments : Declare amnesty to the friends and relatives whom you may resent for past behavior. Holidays are a perfect time to put this in play. This is not a good time to tell your relatives everything you have resented for the past 20 years.

- Don't expect the holidays to be what they were when you were a child; they never are: You are not the same as you were when you were a child and no one in your family is either.

- Control your alcohol consumption: If you do drink, don't let the holidays become a reason to overindulge. Remember, alcohol is a depressant and people should not drink when taking medication or are depressed. Alcohol will worsen anxiety and depression.

Clark says there are some ways for parents to accomplish this throughout the holiday season:

- Take care of your health: Have your family wash their hands often. This is the season for colds and flu.

- Spend time in the kitchen with your children: Aromas can be particularly strong in triggering memories and often stay with a child for a lifetime.

- Exercise: Physical activities like yoga and walking will stimulate brain chemicals that induce euphoria and put people in a better mood.

Clark says there is also a new countrywide movement that's building momentum called #GivingTuesday that focuses on the importance of giving after having received all of the holiday deals.

Clark says, "#GivingTuesday is coming up this Tuesday December 3rd. It's great initiative that provides an opportunity for families to participate in a national day of giving to the nonprofit of their choice, like Daniel or any one of hundreds of nonprofit agencies."

Clark says with an entire holiday dedicated to giving thanks it is a great idea.
"We all hope that idea carries on," Clark says. "But anytime you give or help others it helps you. So when sad, go help someone else, you'll better redirect that energy it a positive by helping others."

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