By Joy Tsai Yuan Hung -
As the holiday season approaches, many of us may feel the holiday blues or become slightly depressed. Our moods are likely to be affected after too much celebrating and eating, excessive amount of alcohol intake or withdrawing from high sugar consumption. During this time, we also may not exercise enough to help us maintain physical and emotional wellbeing. There are people whose moods fluctuate with the decreasing sunlight and cold weather, which may make them more prone to feeling blue.
The holiday seasons coincide with important anniversaries for many people, which can be painful reminders of loss or grief. During the holidays, when we are reminded to spend time with loved ones, we also miss those that are not around us more intensely. People tend to recall events or memories from the past holidays or years, it is quite common that strong feelings of sadness and lost can come back even for those who have gone through the process of grieving.
For those who do not have others to celebrate the season with, either by choice or not, this time can be particularly challenging. For some people the feelings of Isolation and loneliness are quite real. Sometimes people may experience severe depression or having thoughts of suicide when the isolation and sadness become too much to tolerate.
End of the year also bring up questions of how well we have done or what have we accomplished. It is a time for reflection, a time to look deeper within ourselves. Am I heading the right direction with life? Am I happy? What’s missing? What do I want more?
Adequate amount of exercises are important in keeping us healthy and balanced during this time. Walks, gym, yoga, and many other types of physical activities are good for our mind and our body. It is even more important during this time that we take good care of ourselves. Deep breathing and other relaxation techniques are also helpful in keeping our blood pressure low and help us feeling calm.
We may decide it is time to change the negative patterns in our life, either our interactions with others or our relationship to ourselves. It may be helpful to talk about this with someone we trust, get different perspectives, and set realistic goals so we can make some changes. If you are dealing with loss, grief or other difficulties, you might find it is more helpful to talk to a professional, such as a therapist or counselor, to help you move beyond where you feel stuck.
Joy Tsai Yuan Hung, MFT is a psychotherapist practicing in San Diego. She provides specialized services to issues faced by young professionals (age 20s – 30s), such as personal growth, exploring identity, individuation from family, improving relationship, LGBT issues and multicultural issues. She also helps clients who have difficulties with depression, anxiety, self esteem, stress, loss and grief, trauma. Joy has a warm, respectful, and non-judgmental style of working with client to provide a safe space for the healing process.