Dealing with holiday depression

Published 5:30 pm Friday, December 25, 2009

Once the celebration and stresses of Christmastime are over, people may experience feelings of relief or additional stress, according to Dr. David Hodo, a local physician specializing in psychiatrics.

“Anything that is a holiday or big event has an effect on people,” Hodo said. “It’s more about how you handle it.”

Some people see the time off to spend with family and gift-giving as good thing, while other see it as additional stress, Hodo said. “What does it do for you?” Hodo said. Understanding personal reactions to the stresses of the holiday season can help combat feelings of depression, Hodo said. It is up to each person to not let the holiday season be unpleasant.

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Including gifts as part of celebrations does not retract from the original reason for the Christmas holiday, Hodo said. “You can worship Jesus Christ and still want to include gifts,” Hodo said. “Bring the things to it that are special to you.”

Upon feeling sadness or depression about the ending of the holiday season, Hodo suggests reaching out to friends and family. “We all benefit from social support,” Hodo said. It is important to continue to relate with other people, perhaps going places or doing hobbies together, Hodo said.

“We are all the brotherhood of man and we all need to take care of each other,” Hodo said. Now is the time to care for one another and remind each other of friendships. Hodo suggest resurrecting the art of letter writing, dropping a line just to say hello.

“Anytime we reach out to charity, humanity and love, we diminish fear and hatred,” Hodo said. “Love your neighbor, reach out to your friends and think of any kindness you can do.”