Tag Archives: anxiety

Holiday Depression and Anxiety

How to Cope With Depression or Anxiety During the Holidays

Many people think of the holidays as the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a festive time of togetherness and merriment, glittering lights and memorable music. But if you are clinically depressed or struggle with anxiety, you may find that your symptoms such as fatigue and gloominess are worse during the holiday season.
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Stressed Young Woman Coping with Anxiety

9 Good Reasons to Get Your Anxiety Under Control Now

Can’t stop worrying? Find it impossible to relax? Living in a constant state of anxiety overextends your brain and body. It may see like worrying can protect you from trouble, but if your fears don’t subside when a threat goes away, you could be facing serious health problems. Take a look at some of the ways anxiety can wreck the way you look and feel.
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Holidays Put Women Under the Most Stress

Holidays Put Women Under the Most StressIn the years during which women rarely worked outside of the home, they did most if not all of the housework, cooking and childcare. These days, although both men and women typically work full-time jobs outside the home, women still do the majority of housekeeping, meal preparation and looking after the children.

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5 Ways to Manage Your Holiday Expectations

5 Ways to Manage Your Holiday Expectations

The holidays are tough on everyone, but they can be especially hard on someone dealing with depression or anxiety or substance abuse. An online poll taken by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that three-quarters of poll respondents reported feeling either “very anxious and/or depressed” or “just a little bit more anxious and/or depressed than usual” during the holidays.

According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, women appear to be more affected by holiday stress than men, with 44 percent of the women in the survey reporting heightened stress levels during the holidays compared with 31 percent of the men. And it doesn’t help any that the holidays occur in late fall/early winter, when the days are shorter and we’re exposed to the least amount of sunlight, contributing to depression linked with seasonal affective disorder.

But there’s good news about the holidays: The myth that suicides are more prevalent during the holiday season simply isn’t true. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, America’s suicide rate is actually the lowest in December, with peak suicide rates occurring during the spring and fall.

How to Keep Your Holiday Expectations in Check

How the holidays affect you can have as much to do with your expectations as the holidays themselves. Which means while you may not be able to control holiday outcomes, you can control how you feel about — and react to — outcomes by managing your holiday expectations in these five ways:

  1. Don’t buy into idealized holiday notions. That holiday special where everyone is enjoying a “Hallmark moment,” singing carols in the softly falling snow? That’s a TV show. The snow is made out of plastic, and if you’re comparing your holidays to scripted ones with professional actors being directed on Hollywood soundstages, you’re setting yourself up for inevitable disappointment.

“When people are bombarded with commercials, greeting cards, and movies showing perfect families and friendships, they may start to question the quality of their own relationships,” said Adam K. Anderson, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, in an interview with Shape magazine. “This can make people feel lonely and less fulfilled.”

Life isn’t perfect, and holidays are part of life. Embrace their imperfections.

  1. Be OK with celebrating your own way, even if it’s unconventional. One Thanksgiving, about fifteen years ago, I found myself all alone — just my dog and me — with no dinner invitation. Rather than feeling sorry for myself and spending the day drinking while watching football, I decided to take my dog for a hike in the mountains instead. We had a great time, and on the way home I stopped at a truck stop and had a turkey platter at the counter while enjoying an interesting conversation with the waitress stuck working that day. I now look back fondly on that day as one of the best Thanksgivings of my life. But it never would’ve happened if I hadn’t adjusted my expectations of what a “real” Thanksgiving was supposed to be.
  1. Make it acceptable to limit the number of engagements you attend. Count yourself lucky if you’re invited to a lot of holiday celebrations. But holiday get-togethers can be time consuming, stressful and even terrifying if you suffer from social anxiety disorder. Decide how many events you can reasonably make and tolerate, and stick to that number rather than spreading yourself too thin. Ask yourself this: If a holiday celebration or tradition is causing you more stress than joy, is it really worth attending or keeping?
  1. Know that it’s possible to enjoy the holidays without alcohol or drugs. “Taking the edge off” with a few drinks during the holiday season can quickly get out of hand. If you’re in recovery, it can be incredibly tempting to use alcohol or drugs when everyone else around you is using, too. And if you suffer from anxiety or depression, it’s tempting to turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate during the holidays. But the holidays can be endured and even enjoyed while sober. Millions of people do it every year, so why can’t you be one of them?
  1. Don’t expect family members to be different because it’s the holidays. One of the biggest stressors during the holidays is getting together with family and quickly realizing why it is that you only see them during the holidays. But you can only be you, so let go of any preconceived notions of how you’d like them to be. That judgmental relative across the table making disparaging remarks about your lifestyle won’t be around forever, so do your best to enjoy their company and pass them the potatoes with a smile.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of year that you dread and have to endure — or that drive you to drink or use drugs. By managing what you expect of them, not being attached to results, and being open to alternative and non-traditional forms of celebration, you can make this time of year not only one you’re okay with, but one you actually look forward to.

By Sean P. Egen

How CBT Can Help Defeat the Negative Thoughts and Beliefs that Fuel Depression and Anxiety

How CBT Can Help Defeat the Negative Thoughts and Beliefs that Fuel Depression and AnxietyDepression and anxiety impact millions of people on a daily basis. For some, the symptoms are troubling but not so severe that they’re unable to function. For others, the symptoms can be debilitating, resulting in lost work time, damaged relationships, and even the ability to hold down a job.
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Do You Have an Adjustment Disorder?

stressed woman with adjustement disorderLife is full of stressors, whether it’s something unexpected, such as a breakup with a girlfriend or being passed over for a promotion, or a major transition, such as getting married or retiring.  Incidents like these can be very stressful – even if you’re normally a pretty resilient person.  You may feel that your world has suddenly been jarred just enough to lose the firm footing you normally have.  Instead of adapting and moving on, you get stuck for a short while.  Symptoms of depression or anxiety creep in, or you find yourself missing work or lashing out at others.

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Is Social Anxiety Disorder Ruining your Life?

socially stressed woman stays away from friendsEvery mental health disorder – from ADHD to paranoid schizophrenia – causes problems in the lives of those who suffer from it.  Social anxiety disorder – also known as “social phobia” – is no different.  Due to the nature of the disorder, which often includes significant shyness and debilitating fear in all or certain types of social situations, social anxiety disorder can be particularly disruptive.  In fact, if left untreated, the consequences of this disorder can severely impact every area of your life, leaving you with the feeling that your life is ruined.

Is that happening to you?

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Avoidant Personality Disorder

woman with avoidant personality disorderPerhaps you’ve encountered individuals who seem to really struggle in social situations.  They lack confidence in themselves, feel inadequate in social situations, and rarely risk getting close to anyone unless they’re certain of being liked.  They avoid social situations and any type of interaction that they believe will be uncomfortable or risky.

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