Feeling Depressed During the Holidays
Even though commercials, movies, and songs tell us we’re supposed to be in the best spirits during the holidays, it’s common for many people to feel depressed this time of year. Whether it’s due to a demanding schedule, spending time with loved ones who test your patience, financial worries, or even being away from your family, it’s okay to feel a little blue during this time of year. Depression can negatively affect the entire body due to the increase in stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When these hormones are increased, it causes a drastic decrease in the body’s ability to repair itself—leading to a weakened immune system.
The Fix: Let some close friends know if you don’t have plans during the holidays and ask if they wouldn’t mind if you spent time with them. If that’s not an option, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, senior center, or church. There are many underprivileged people that would love company during the holidays. Remember that the holidays are about giving, not receiving, and it’ll give you warm and fuzzy feelings knowing you made someone’s day. A study published by the Journal of Gorgan University of Medical Science indicated that social support can balance the negative effects of stress on the immune system.
The most important remedy of all during the holidays is smile and laugh. Laughter releases endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers. Don’t take yourself too seriously. When you’re starting to feel stressed or anxious, stop what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths. Just five minutes of meditation has been show to reduce stress and calm nerves.