The Holidays are upon us and this is often a time when I see many patients in my practice facing increased pressure to \"appear\" joyful. While this season can inspire glee in many, for others, particularly those struggling with depression, it can be a stark reminder of their sadness and loss. Difficult family relationships are often at the root of many people\'s anxiety, even long after they have reached adulthood and moved away from home. Families come together at this time and, in the best circumstances, there is warmth and laughter but in many cases there are those families who struggle year to year to get through the Holidays without incident. When families choose not to gather together at all because of stressful relationships, well, that presents its own set of issues. This is a time to be gentle with yourself and those you love. Partners are often at each other as a way to defuse their anxiety about upcoming events and interactions. Prepare for the possibility of unpleasant feelings and discuss them ahead of time with your mate. Put yourself in the best possible situations - which may mean having to say, \"no\" to an invitation if you think it will cause you too much unnecessary stress. Try to discover your own kind of joy and warmth. Take time during this season to do the things you love. Make that a gift to yourself. Lastly, if you are reading this then you have already found this community so this is a time to reach out. Share your stories, struggles and anticipatory fears with others here. Not only will you find out that you are not alone but you may get some great suggestions about how to deal with those Holiday Blues.
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