Holidays can lead to depression, stress
December 12, 2007
The holidays, while a time of joy for most, are often stressful and depressing for many others.
Lynn Kinsell, a clinical psychologist in Fallon, said one of the reasons people get depressed during the holidays is they have an unrealistic expectation of what to expect during the season.
She said people have to ask themselves if what they want can actually happen.
There are some residents, she said, who grew up in homes where they were given many gifts, and they are now in situations in which presents cannot be afforded.
Depression can also happen to people spending more than they can afford on Christmas gifts. Others, she said, try to design the holidays for their families the way they want, not how the family desires.
The use of alcohol is another reason why depression is higher during the holidays.
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Kinsell said Christmas parties lead to people drinking with those they normally would not imbibe with.
“That creates problems,” she said.
There are others who drink during Christmas while looking back at past holidays that did not go well.
She said the use of alcohol can lead to depression of up to three weeks.
Those who are affected the most during the winter holidays are people focusing on material things.
Kinsell said depression usually does not happen to members of the public who see the holiday as a way to show their love for others or for those who see Christmas as a day to honor the birth of Jesus Christ.
There are solutions to those who stress over not having enough money to spend on gifts.
“Some people decide to make their own gifts,” she said, mentioning these presents are often more personal and mean more.
She said people need to be sensible when approaching the holidays.
Adding to the pressure, Kinsell said, is that some parents see the holidays as a way to compete with other parents with the presents given to their children.
“It’s a pressure thing,” she said. “The importance of a person is based on how much bling they have.”
Depression is an easy disorder to treat, Kinsell said.
“If you are a happy person, and you are deprived of sleep, you are going to be in a deteriorating state that will lead to depression,” she said.
Besides sleep, many people during the holidays do not watch what they eat, exercise less and cut down on the amount of water they drink.
If a depressed person avoids these four practices, Kinsell said, the disorder will go away two-thirds of the time.
The seasonal changes are another reason why depression increases in the winter months.
Seasonal effective disorder occurs in winter when there is little sunshine, resulting in people staying indoors and not participating in activities.
“Getting outside and being in the sun is good for you,” she said.
Syena Sowden, owner of The Energy Center, said yoga is a great way to reduce tension and let go of stress.
Sowden said many people sign up for classes in December, partially because they do not want to gain weight during the holidays.
“Everyone that does come in needs stress relief,” she said. “This is the time of year we put more stress on us than we are used to. This is the time of year that people are reminded of their New Year’s resolutions.”
Roger Pond, owner of Custom Massage Center, said 90 percent of the clients he sees in December are looking for a way to reduce the stress they have accumulated because of the holidays.
“Every December is the same, the stress factor,” said Pond, who has been a masseur for the past 15 years.
Pond said new clients are consulted in determining how much stress they are under. From there, a treatment plan is developed.
He added massages are usually given to treat stresses anytime during the year, but they dramatically increase in December.
For people looking for ways to deal with depression, Kinsell can be reached at 423-4267.