A FEW TIPS TO EFFECTIVELY NAVIGATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON
1. Examine and decide on which social events you will attend early. Don’t feel the need to attend every single event that you have been invited to, as this may provide a source of unwarranted stress for you and your loved ones.
2. Prepare a budget for Holiday shopping and create a shopping list. This will keep you responsible and accountable to self, so that you do not make unnecessary purchases that you will regret later in the New Year. Also, pay your major personal budget items first, that is, deposit into your personal savings and or rent/ car loan/personal loans/, allowance for automobile monthly gas bill. Make allowances for groceries and other items i.e., pet food, doctors visit/s; electric and water bill, that you normally take care of in any given month
3. If you are drinking alcohol at social events, be responsible in your drinking and limit the intake of alcohol. Have a limit for alcohol ingestion to avoid any negative consequences i.e., uninhibited behavior, next day hangovers, alcohol poisoning and or “alcohol blackout” spells. Remember alcohol is a depressant and so heavy regular drinking, can also lead to the onset of depression symptoms.
For your very own personal safety, do not leave any drinks unattended when you are out at an event and do not receive drinks from strangers.
If you are carpooling with others, have a designated driver who will drop every one off safely when the night’s festivities are done. Do not drink and drive, which may result in serious harms and hazards to you and your passengers
4. Keep a normal routine during the holiday season i.e., keep a regular sleep schedule i.e., get up in the morning at the same time and go to bed at the same time, eat appropriate meals on time (breakfast, lunch, dinner and daytime snacks).
Maintain a healthy balance diets amidst the sweets, cookies and eggnog. Be judicious with respect to your intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages; desserts and also caffeinated beverages.
Maintain a regular exercise routine and strive to adhere to it. Invite a work-out partner to these sessions, so as to motivate you. A good work-out regime consists of walking, exercising, light aerobics and gym activity.
Schedule some alone time (Me-Time), for quiet meditation, rest and relaxation.
5. The holiday season can be the best of times for some or the worse time for others. Some persons have experienced loss of loved ones during past holiday seasons and are experiencing the “Anniversary Effect of Grief”. Others may have loss finances or have experienced a recent divorce or romantic break-up or loss of a pet/animal.
Some persons have even experienced trauma (emotional, physical or sexual trauma) or have witnessed trauma in the recent past (past year) and even in the distant past (from childhood or adolescence or young adult life). The Holiday season with all its flare and pizzazz, seems to be triggering for some persons who may have repressed memories of past traumatic events.
Some persons may also have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and may be experiencing a reoccurring depressive episode, which are possible during the holiday season which can be a major source of stress, owing to increasing personal and social demands; traffic congestion and simply put, the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season.
Some persons who reside in frigid territories, may also experience a depressive episode (during the months of November through April) as a result of the lack of available sunlight, which is evidenced during the winter season in North America and Europe.
This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) AKA “Winter Depression”. Symptoms of SAD include: persistent sadness for days back-to-back; fatigue, lethargy, lack of interest in engaging in activities once normally enjoyed and increased appetite resulting in weight gain.
Do not keep your feelings frozen but rather feel your feelings say something to a trusted friend, family member or mentor or contact your primary doctor.
If you are feeling depressed or sadness and it is sustained or persisting for days, back-to-back, speak with a trusted friend or family member or with your pastor/priest/spiritual adviser or primary doctor/physician.
Don’t be dismissive of clinical depression symptoms which may include persistent depressed mood or a lack of interest in participating in once normally enjoyed activities and decreased enjoyment derived from the same activities, coupled with changes in one’s appetite, sleep disturbances; presence of suicidal ideas and or thoughts, presence of guilty ideas or thoughts, inability to make major life decisions, impaired memory and concentration, lack of focus, lethargy and even somatic symptoms (headaches, backaches, limb pains).
If you or a friend are experiencing intensifying clinical depression symptoms with increasing suicidal thoughts, suicidal intent or suicidal plan; remember help is available to you. Remember, THINK OF IT, TALK ABOUT IT AND ACT ON IT.
Contact your primary doctor or visit the nearest Emergency Room department for the ‘care and treatment’ of you and or your loved ones. DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE, HELP IS AVAILABLE BY TRAINED MEDICAL PERSONNEL.
6. Set realistic goals and objectives for the upcoming year 2023