By Sara Childre and Deborah Rozman
If you are feeling less than cheerful this holiday season, donít feel bad about that. You have a lot of company. Recent events in the news have many reeling. Thereís a lot going on. I am finding more people are on edge, quicker to get irritated and uncertain about the future. Add the holidays on top of that, when weíre supposed to be feeling more joy, and itís easy to understand why some of us could be feeling depressed.
If we donít manage emotional stress during this time of year, it can lead to the holiday blues. Studies show that depression peaks during and after the holidays, especially for those prone to it. Unmet expectations, missing a loved one, excessive spending, even too much to eat or drink can bring on the blues. Trying to join in holiday cheer and not being able to do so can make anyone feel out of step, and add to a feeling of isolation.
Research shows that depression results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. However scientists arenít exactly sure what causes the imbalance, but in many situations, itís due to too much stress. People who are depressed appear to have lower levels of some neurotransmitters that control mood or elevated levels of cortisol, a hormone that accumulates in the body due to stress. (If feelings of depression last longer than a few weeks or if the symptoms are severe, itís important to seek professional help.)
Here are some tips from HeartMath that can help prevent or overcome the holiday blues:
Be careful not to get caught up in over-extending yourself. Adding too much to your plate can turn what should be a good time enjoying the holiday season into an extra backpack of stress. Then you have to take the first week of the New Year just to recoup from it all. Instead, create space to enjoy yourself and the people in your life whom you love or enjoy being with. You can avoid this by slowing down in the midst of all the activities and checking in with yourself about how youíre really feeling. Observe your energies and feelings and learn to find more ease through it all.
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