Dallas, TX, November 15, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- ‘Tis the season to be stressful. Planning ahead, setting expectations, and seeking support can reduce the levels of stress and depression during the holidays, according to University Behavioral Health of Denton (UBH).
“While many people find great joy during the holidays, there are many people who dread this time of year,” said Dr. Nishendu Vasavada, corporate medical director of UBH Denton. “It’s important to understand the difference between the holiday blues and other mental health issues. One example is seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression related to the shorter, darker, colder days of winter.”
Vasavada added, “To reduce the holiday blues and seasonal mood changes, you must take care of your mental well-being. As much as possible, avoid doing things that add stress or create an unpleasant experience this time of year.”
The three most common stress triggers during the holidays are finances, relationships, and physical demands. UBH Denton offers 10 tips to keep the joy alive:
1. Plan ahead. Avoid last-minute pressure by creating a plan and timeline. Set aside days for shopping, baking, entertaining, and relaxation.
2. Set a budget. Creating a budget, and sticking to it, can eliminate much of the stress related to holiday spending. Pay cash when you can to reduce holiday spending surprises on the January credit card statement. Don’t forget you can’t buy happiness, so shop wisely.
3. Keep it simple. If you expect too much at this time of year, you will be disappointed. Reduce the number of activities to a few special ones. Prioritize and don’t feel you have to go to every holiday event. Avoid activities and events that will cause stress. Do only those things that are special or important to you and your family.
4. Delegate. Don’t try to be a hero by doing all the shopping, cleaning, and decorating yourself. Get your spouse and family involved. Better yet, do less and simplify.
5. Avoid crowds. Shop early or during off shopping hours, when it is less stressful. Purchase gifts through catalogs or online, avoiding jammed parking lots and stores.
6. Just say no. Politely decline when the invitation or activity doesn’t fit your plan. Knowing you are sticking to your plan can stem the guilt of saying no.
7. Make it a team effort. If you have guests, invite them to bring part of the meal, or join you in your kitchen to help cook and clean up afterwards.
8. Do something you love. Be sure to save time for your own favorite activities, whether it is reading a book, watching a favorite movie, or going to special Christmas or holiday events.
9. Exercise, rest, and eat healthy. Don’t let the holidays wear you down. Exercise and sleep can reduce stress and fatigue and make the holidays more enjoyable. Limit your intake of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
10. Reach out for support. It’s normal to feel sad during the holidays, especially if you have lost a loved one during the year. Take time to share your feelings. If you feel isolated, depressed, or lonely, seek support from friends and family, or consider talking to a professional. If the sadness persists and is accompanied by other depression symptoms, schedule a depression screening. If you find you are anxious, irritable, unable to sleep, feel constantly sad and hopeless and unable to cope, contact your doctor or a mental health professional.
University Behavioral Health, part of Ascend Health Corporation, is a full service mental health and chemical dependency hospital serving all of north Texas. University Behavioral Health serves a broad range of patients, from children as young as 5 through adolescents, adults, and mature adults. In all its programs, University Behavioral Health relies on evidence-based mental health care, in which evidence gained from scientific methods is applied to medical decision making in order to deliver the most positive outcomes.
About University Behavioral Health
University Behavioral Health provides a supportive, compassionate, and innovative private healing environment of patient-centered care for patients and their families. It is part of Ascend Health Corporation, a national behavioral healthcare company providing a full range of psychiatric services through private hospitals. University Behavioral Health serves the north Texas-Oklahoma region through hospitals in Denton and Carrollton. Private and confidential assessments are provided at no charge. Visit www.ubhdenton.com for more information.