Stress and the Holidays

It’s that time of year again…

A Thanksgiving Potluck with your siblings you haven’t seen in years… A Christmas Dinner with your favorite in-laws… A Gift Exchange with you coworkers that really don’t know you all that well. The list can go on and on! Sometimes the holiday season can seem to cause more stress than it should. It is important to understand that you are not alone. Stress can be unhealthy but there are plenty of ways to reduce or avoid some of these holiday stress inducers. According to the American Psychological Association, there are ways to manage difficult family conversations, deal with the pressure of gift-giving, address financial stress, as well as manage expectations from your loved ones. For more information on these topics, check out the link below.

Start making the holiday season something to look forward to

Family Involvement

“My friends and family are my support system. They tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear and they are there for me in the good and bad times. Without them I have no idea where I would be and I know that their love for me is what’s keeping my head above the water.”

-Kelly Clarkson

According to Merriam-Webster, ‘family’ is defined as “the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children”. However, over time we have come to define family as those we develop lasting and rewarding relationships with, those we share experiences with, and individuals who have shown their loyalty in times of personal hardship.  Recovering from substance use disorder can be difficult if managed alone. Allowing family and friends to support you in these times can become essential to maintaining your goals and having an outlet when challenges do arise. If you or someone you know is interested in seeking family based counseling, please visit resources below.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Fall is here! With the change of seasons may also come a change in mood/behavior that may present itself as Season Affective Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder is “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer(NIMH, March 2016). To be diagnosed with SAD, individuals must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons for at least 2 years. Symptoms may resemble feeling hopeless or worthless, having low energy, having problems sleeping, feeling sluggish, having difficulty concentrating, weight gain, cravings for carbs, etc. However significant the symptoms may appear, there are various forms of treatment and interventions that can be used to treat SAD. Medication, Light Therapy, Psychotherapy and Vitamin D are often used in combination or alone. Talk to your doctor or counselor if you feel you may be experiencing SAD or have experienced SAD in the past.

 For more information/resources on Seasonal Affect Disorder, please visit the sites below.