By Scott A. Johnson
The holidays are a joyous season to celebrate with family for many people, yet for others, the gloomy weather, stress, busy schedules, financial pressures, and family expectations can trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression - commonly called the holiday blues.
This may be surprising to some people who consider the holidays the happiest time of the year, rarely noticing a friend or loved one that may be dealing with the holiday blues. To the person experiencing the holiday blues, the holidays can feel lonely and difficult to hear about everyone else's fun plans. However, with a focus on these six strategies both groups can have a more enjoyable holiday season.
- Seek social support not social media.
Make plans to do something you enjoy with a group of close friends, family, or neighbors. Limit social media use that may cause a loss of perspective and prompt feelings of being left out or jealousy.
- Don't overschedule.
Overbooking your holiday time can lead to exhaustion, crankiness, and feelings of sadness. Organize your time to attend events that are a priority and that you most want to attend.
- Stay active.
Regular activity releases feel-good brain chemicals (neurotransmitters, endorphins, and endocannabinoids) and reduce immune chemicals that improves depressive symptoms.
- Help others to help you.
Serving others (volunteer at a homeless shelter, work with groups that help underprivileged or hospitalized children, or visit care centers for the elderly) takes the focus off your own challenges and uplifts simultaneously others. Don't have time for this, choose something simple like write a thank you note, take a plate of cookies to someone in need, or count your blessings.
- Take stress- and anxiety-busting supplements.
Clinical research published in the July 2012 edition of the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine demonstrates that ashwagandha root (300 mg, twice daily) reduces cortisol levels and encourages a more balanced response to stress. B vitamins are significantly depleted during the stress response, so a B complex vitamin may also be helpful.
- Inhale uplifting essential oils.
The powerful influence of pleasant aromas cannot be overstated. Inhaling an essential oil triggers the release of neurochemicals and hormones that are critical to the reduction of depressive symptoms and anxious feelings. Lavender, citrus oils, chamomile, and cedarwood essential oil are all good options to encourage a positive mood and reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms. Topical application of orange essential oil (10 drops of a 2% dilution, three times daily) has also proven beneficial in clinical research.
Don't let the holiday blues overwhelm you and ruin your holidays. Seek support, organize your time wisely, stay active, serve others, supplement, and use essential oils to experience the joy you deserve this holiday season.
Scott A. Johnson is a naturopath, Certified Elite Essential Oil Specialist, Certified Clinical Master Aromatherapist, and Board Certified Alternative Medical Practitioner dedicated to raising healthier generations naturally. His evidence-based approach to natural medicine and enthusiasm for sharing wellness with the global masses makes him a world leader in natural medicine. Join his wellness community to get a free report on essential oils and MRSA. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.