Secrets, Lies Of Holiday Season
Most people think of the holidays as a time for joy and togetherness. However for many Americans, women especially, the season can be an emotionally trying time. The buildup of the pressure to create the ideal holiday experience can trigger social and emotional stressors that have negative consequences, such as depression, anxiety and substance dependency.
"During the holidays we start to see more women looking for treatment," said Jacqueline Dawes, founder and owner Brookhaven Retreat, a premier holistic women-only treatment facility for emotional trauma and addiction. "These women are looking for an escape. They are often so exhausted from the pressure of the season that all areas of their health, both physical and mental, begin to breakdown."
The three main triggers of holiday depression include relationships, finances and physical demands, according to the Mayo Clinic. Women may be more vulnerable to these triggers due to the fact they have been socialized from birth to be caretakers. A survey by the National Women's Health Resource Center states that two-thirds of women report depression during the holidays. The added pressure of creating the perfect Thanksgiving dinner or holiday outing, combined with the everyday stress of balancing a job, family, education and finances can limit the amount of time women have to relax and avoid these painful holiday triggers.
Here are a few suggestions to help combat the holiday depression that many will experience this season.
-- Seek support from friends or family members.
-- Plan ahead -- Set aside specific days for shopping, visiting with friends, baking, and other activities.
-- Stick to a budget -- Before going shopping, decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts and other items. Depression can also set in if one cannot afford to buy all the gifts you would like, and can lead to financial strain.
-- Keep your expectations for the season manageable -- Set realistic goals, pace yourself, and know that it is okay to say, "No."
-- Don't go overboard -- Although we all enjoy the wonderful foods this time of year, be mindful of your body's wants and needs. Enjoy the special foods of the season, but know that overeating will leave you feeling lethargic.
-- Remember to take time for yourself -- Let others share the responsibilities of the holiday tasks. Know that you are not a bad person if you didn't get everything done.
"Women need to ensure that they attend to their emotional needs during this holiday season," said Dawes. "Those who depend on women need to be sensitive to the added demands the holidays will bring. Ultimately, it should be a happy and memorable time of the year for everyone."