Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Beating the Holiday Blues

MANILA, Dec. 14 (PNA Features) – This is indeed the season to be jolly with all the festive mood and mouthwatering foods. Christmas time is undoubtedly the most wonderful time of the year.

The amazing carols, the sharing of gifts and all the holiday laughter can be heard and experienced once again.

However, despite the jovial mood that this season brings, there are few people who suddenly feel lonely whenever the Christmas season is around the corner.

This condition is what the health professionals call the seasonal affective disorder and is more commonly known as “holiday blues” or “holiday depression.” It is expected to be short-lived as compared to clinical depression.

The National Mental Health Association in the United States cited the reasons for holiday blues which ranges from fatigue, financial problems to family tensions.

Mental health experts likewise explained that one of the common causes of holiday depression is unrealistic expectations.

Other known factors that contribute to holiday depression are the memories of deceased loved ones and strained family relationships because holidays are always associated with family and togetherness.

However, the holiday blues can sometimes lead to full blown clinical depression. Mental health experts are advising the people to seek professional help if they experience such conditions.

The Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) said that unlike the holiday blues, depression does not just go away. It usually gets worse.

The medical body defines depressions as a “serious medical condition that affects the body, mind and behavior. It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, the way you think about things. “

PMHA said that depression can affect people of all ages, races, religions, and incomes worldwide.

To beat holiday blues and clinical depression, here are some tips to reduce its symptoms:

- Exercise regularly. Experts believe that exercise can affect the physiological factors that cause depressions. It also increases certain brain chemicals that make one feel better.

- Exposure to sunlight. This method is often used for holiday blues. A little exposure to sunlight, just like exercise, can increase brain chemicals that fight depression.

- Take nutritional supplements. According to PMHA, studies have shown that daily supplements of vital nutrients can reduce symptoms of depression. Cited as example are supplements that contain amino acids that can be converted to neurotransmitters that alleviate depression and other mental disorders.

- Relaxation exercises and meditation. These can ease stress that causes depression and holiday blues. It can also provide a way to at least temporarily escape the blues associated with the holidays by bringing in some positive, warm thoughts. (PNA)

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