How to Avoid Post-Holiday Depression   Frank Barnhill M.D.

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Dear Subscriber,

With the holidays in full swing, I felt you and your family might benefit from the tips contained in my article on Holiday Depression. We all try to do too much during the holidays and usually spread ourselves very thin. Hey, we’re expected to feel obligated to make sure everyone has a good Christmas, aren’t we? These pressured expectations can lead to easy exhaustion and fatigue, frustration, guilt, and possibly even depression. My advice for avoiding frustration during the holiday season has always been “slow down, think about what you wish to do twice, then plan your task carefully”. Hopefully, the following tips on “How to Avoid Post-Holiday Depression” will give you some control over your post-holiday expectations and provide a meaningful Christmas and New Year’s experience for you and your family, without the emotional letdown that usually occurs after it’s all over.

Merry Christmas!
Dr. Frank

How To Avoid Post-Holiday Depression

Most of us are really emotionally charged for any holiday.  After all, a holiday and time off or time spent with family and friends, is something to look forward to.  We spend weeks and sometimes months getting ready for the event, only to have it last a short time and disappear abruptly.  As a result, about 25% of s will suffer such a letdown, that depression will set in within a few days or even a week later.  Here are a few suggestions to help you deal with post holiday blues:

When you first feel the blues coming on, sit quietly for 20 to 30 minutes and think of all the good things that happened during the season.  Write down a next years resolution list to help make sure those good things happen again.  Remember all the things you did receive and don’t dwell on what you didn’t receive.  Start next year’s gift list now.  That will allow you to buy a few after Christmas bargains.

Make a call list and personally phone each person who gave you a gift.  Thank them for the present and offer to help in some special way.  Bake an “after New Year’s” cake or buy a special “It’s winter” food and give it to friends or family as a treat, sort of like the Kings cake at Mardi Gras.

Try to set up a “help the needy” winter fund and give assistance in January and February to those you helped during Christmas.  Being needy is not limited to Christmas, yet that’s when we tend to think about helping others the most.

“Re-gift a present” you received to a needy person.  It’s ok to give away presents you do not need.  I don’t think it’s ok to sell them, but giving them to someone who can use them in January seems an ok thing to do.

Send out Happy New Year or “Have a great winter” cards to the very same persons you sent Christmas cards.  Design your own “hope it snows” card. Start a birthday card list of friends and relatives and go ahead and prepare your cards for the next three months.  Have them ready to mail and put them on the fridge.

Call an old friend.  Pick one you haven’t spoken to in a long time and get acquainted again.  Once you start talking, you’ll find you still have a lot more in common than you think.

Start having family meetings twice a month to discuss the good and the bad.  Having everyone’s input will help take some of the stress of life off of you.  Organize a contest at work for the best or worst piece of clothing received at Christmas and if worn to work, offer a prize.

Have a “hat party”.  Everyone has to wear a hat to attend.  Have a best hat and craziest hat award.  Everyone will have more fun than you can imagine.  Start planning your next vacation and send for all the information available.  It pays to plan even for a weekend get away, as that gives you control over time will spent and helps make the trop much more enjoyable.

Rededicate you life or your family at church.  Nothing makes us feel better than to have all those burdens lifted off of our shoulders.  Set goals for what church work you and your family can do for the year.

Teach yourself a new way to pray.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, most persons were never taught how to pray.  Children were usually just taught “program prayers” and not how to pray form the heart.  Most of us forget that prayer can be done at any time and for any reason.  So, offer a prayer in thanks for all the good things you received and those who gave them.  Have a Sunday school class party for “backsliders”.  Invite all of your class, including those who have been missing more than a few Sundays.  Schedule this at a convenient time during the week, so everyone can come or at least drop-in.  You may also wish to invite prospective new members.

These are just a few ways to keep the blues away.  The methods can be expanded and modified as you wish.  And yes, I’m sure you can think of many others, now that I’ve gotten you started.

Have a great year!

Dr. Frank


These health tips are offered for your common sense use and are not intended to take the place of a visit to your doctor.  Your use of the materials implies your understanding that nothing herein contained represents individual medical advice.

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