Misty forest

Tis the Season… for Stress, Anger, and Depression!

Sometimes the holidays can be a very stressful time. Here's what to do.

This is a guest post from the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition and Dr. Linda Ford.

Isn’t it interesting that we wait with great anticipation every year for the Holiday season; then, by the end of November, we just want it to be over!!?

Why is that?  Typically, we have three (3) emotions that contribute:  Stress, Anger, and Depressed mood.

We STRESS because of unrealistic expectations that we put on ourselves (and others!)  The plans, the need for everything to be perfect, the mounting time crunch with invading responsibilities that must be added to an already bulging calendar.

We feel ANGRY because the responses from others aren’t as we perceived they would be.  Other people are focused on their own bulging calendars and plans or they are just not able to meet our expectations (of them.)

We become sad, emotionally flat, or even revert into a place where we do not even want to get out of bed because of the day filled with so many plans!

What can we do to bring the fun back into the Holidays?

Practice Self Care

  1. Easy Does It.  Keep track of your commitments on a small calendar where you can visualize when days are too packed with responsibilities before you say “yes” to another.
  2. First Things First.   Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water daily will prevent dehydration.  Dehydration creates decreased energy, fogginess, and an emotional slump.  Decrease sugar intake.  Maybe reduce the number of sodas, or the number of desserts.  Sugar will give a short-lived false high and then a drop-in emotions and feelings of sadness.  Get 6-8 hours of deep sleep each night.  Sleep is the single most important tool for sustaining balanced emotions, energy, and productivity.
  3. Drop Expectations. When we have unrealistic expectations, the people in our lives do not let us down, our expectations of them (and ourselves) do!
  4. Live in the Moment. Have a small daily quiet half-hour and relax.  During this half hour, try to get a better perspective of your personal goals.
  5. Practice Gratitude. At the close of each day, list five (5) things to be grateful for.  Remember, what you feed grows (thoughts of gratitude) and what you starve dies (negative thoughts of you and others.)

In closing, Tis the Season to be Jolly!

You are welcome to email for a free consultation:

Dr Linda Ford, RN, MBA, LMHC Ph.D

The Ketchikan Wellness Coalition wishes everyone a merry holiday season. It can be a joyous time full of love and laughter, but we also understand it can be a challenging time of year for many. Please know there are supports in our community if you are needing someone to listen. We have listed a few below:

Local Resources

Gateway Center for Human Services (Akeela)

Community Connections

Ketchikan Indian Community Behavioral Health

Women In Safe Homes

Support Groups

Peer-to-Peer Mental Health – SAIL office; Mondays 5:30-6:30

Grief Support – ketchikanhospice@peacehealth.org

State Resources

24-hour Alaska Careline 1-877-266-HELP (4357)

Alaska 2-1-1 (available Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)

Dr. Linda Ford

Dr. Ford (RN, MBA, LMHC, Ph.D) is a counselor in Ketchikan. You can reach her at drlindaford@aol.com

Healthy Minds is a monthly column coordinated by Ketchikan Wellness Coalition as a way to share positive stories from people living with mental illness, offer information from local mental health professionals about maintaining mental health in your life, and provide details on tangible activities or actions you can take to strengthen your mental wellness. If you would like to contribute to the column, please contact Romanda Simpson at info@ktnkwc.org

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