8 tips on how to be happy this holiday season - COPE

8 tips on how to be happy this holiday season

Prakash Masand, a psychiatrist at Duke University and founder of Psychiatric Centers of Excellence, shared with Metro tips and tricks to be happy at the end of the year!

The end of the year parties are almost here. And although Christmas and New Year are supposed to bring happy experiences, some may feel stressed, overwhelmed and even depressed. Prakash Masand, a psychiatrist at Duke University and founder of Psychiatric Centers of Excellence, shared with Metro tips and tricks to avoid it.

1. Schedule time to be alone

“Parties can be a chaotic moment with friends and family and it’s fine to schedule some time to be alone. Ask your spouse to watch the children for an hour and go to the spa, or go play some golf. Looking for something solitary is healthy and necessary to reduce stress. “

2. Do not Procrastinate

“There is a lot to do: buy gifts, cook, decorate and more. Saving everything for the last minute will increase your stress. Start a few weeks before and do it little by little. Making a list from the most important to the least important will also help you better manage your activities. “

3. Eliminate financial stressors

“All parents want to buy that perfect holiday gift for their children, but expensive items can affect your wallet and your stress level. Make a budget when it comes to holiday shopping and stick to it. “

4. Prepare for some things to go wrong

“Your son can hate his Christmas present. Your daughter could get sick. Maybe you miss cooking the ham. The point is that things will go wrong. Appreciate the season for the time you spend with your loved ones and create new memories, and do not worry about the small things. “

5. Holidays are not the time to resolve family conflicts

“Many people use holidays to try to resolve long-standing conflicts with family members often with disastrous consequences, especially when there is some alcohol. Approach them at another time with a one-on-one talk. “

6. Let others help

“Do not feel like you have to be the hero of the holiday season. Ask each person to bring a plate to the dinner, make the decoration a family activity where the children help, and consider a gift exchange where each person buys just one gift to relieve the stress of having to buy something for everyone. “

7. Do not forget about you

“People get so entangled during the holidays that they forget to take care of themselves. Do not skip meals, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and follow your exercise routine. “

8. Do not forget to take your medicine and go to medical appointments

“If you are under the care of a psychiatrist or other mental health professional for anxiety or depression, be sure to keep your doctor’s appointments at this time of year and do not reduce medications until after the New Year if your doctor recommends it. “


Prakash Masand,
Psychiatrist at Duke University and founder of Psychiatric Centers of Excellence.

Prakash Masand

Why can the holiday season become stressful, chaotic and depressing?

– If you look at our daily life without the holidays, most people already feel stressed, overwhelmed and that there are not enough hours in the day. Now add all the extras that come during the holidays, things like buying gifts, cooking, traveling, parties, etc., it really becomes overwhelming and can affect your mental well-being. The other thing to remember is that while parties are portrayed as the most wonderful time of the year, the reality is that some people find it difficult to enter the spirit of the season for several reasons and this can increase their depression.

Are these feelings of stress, chaos and depression not the same as on normal work days?

– The physical and psychological symptoms are the same during the holiday season, as they are the rest of the year. It is due to all the additional responsibilities and demands of our time, that the symptoms are much more present and people feel them much more. Someone with depression or anxiety may feel as if their symptoms are magnified at this time of year, so it is very important that you continue taking your medications and keep your doctor appointments.

What are the main factors that cause such feelings?

– There are many reasons why people have difficulties during the holidays. For some it is financial stress. We felt like we had to buy gifts for everyone, and this highlights the fact that money is limited. For others, it can mean family reunions and see people with whom you may not have the best relationship. For others who lost a loved one this year, the parties bring back memories of that person and the sadness of not having him here this year. And for most, it is only the additional demands of our time that can really harm our mental health.

Is it a global trend? Are more and more people around the world feeling depressed during the Christmas / New Year holidays?

– I’d say it’s something that many people face every holiday season, but it’s a less commented trend. In our practice, we see many of our patients who want to talk about the holidays. In fact, we ask each patient at this time of the year how they are coping and what their plans are just to make sure they remain stable. One thing that adds to this is that globalization and online shopping become a global trend, the stress related to purchases is increasing globally and will continue to do so. As you increase access to articles globally through online shopping, so will the tendency to feel bad if you live in a developing country, but you can not afford items that may be available to wealthy buyers in developed countries. This can also lead to an increase in debt to keep up with friends and family around the world.

So, how to deal with all that?

– Take time for yourself. Even 20 or 30 minutes each day to do something you enjoy or find relaxing is very important. Be sure to delegate at this time of year. You can not do everything yourself and your family should help. Do not visualize the “perfect” parties because things can and will go wrong. When these unforeseen events occur, try not to let them affect you and just keep going. Do not postpone things. If you save everything for the last minute, you will feel even more overwhelmed. When you see a family member you do not see often or maybe you had a fight, do not try to resolve old conflicts at this time of year. Just be cordial and make an effort to get along. Finally, if you feel you are struggling with stress or depression,

What to expect in the future?

– I suspect that feelings of stress, chaos and depression will remain constant during the holidays in the years to follow. I do not foresee changes in the way we celebrate the holidays, so I think that the feelings of the people will remain the same. I strongly recommend that you concentrate on your mental health and well-being at this time of year.

[Read the Original Article in Spanish Here]