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NOT-SO FESTIVE SEASON

- Health Unit Provides Coping Tips for Local Residents Dealing With Stress and Depression Tied to Holidays –

Happy holidays? For some local residents, this is no way to describe the true feelings they are contending with at this time of year.

Stress and depression are what many individuals in the area are grappling with given the hectic pace and all the expectations that come with the holidays, warns the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

“People are under tremendous pressure planning holiday parties, fitting in family gatherings, choosing the right presents, dealing with excited children, or trying to cope with financial pressures of gift-giving,” says Emmy Anastasiou, a Family Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Far from being happy holidays, it can be a not-so festive season that leads to frayed nerves, short fuses, nasty arguments and even depression.”

Before the holidays get out of hand, she encourages individuals to consider ways to cope with stress to better manage emotions and avoid depression. Says Anastasiou: “Minimize stress so that it does not destroy you, your relationships and seriously affect the health of your loved ones.”

The Health Unit suggests the following tips to keep stress and depression in check during the holidays:

  • Set realistic expectations about what you can do in the holiday season. Seek balance, and try not to overdo it. Most importantly, learn to say no.
  • Share with others the responsibility of buying gifts or preparing holiday meals. This is a good way to lighten the load for everyone.
  • If possible, set aside differences with family and friends. If necessary, limit the time spent socializing with loved ones if these situations make you feel anxious.
  • Stick to a budget for presents. This will reduce financial strain on your family. Be creative, and give gifts of time such as spending a day with a loved one or teaching a child a new hobby or skill.
  • Acknowledge your feelings. It is normal to feel sadness and grief if you have recently lost a loved one or cannot be near family of friends this year. If you are feeling lonely or sad, seek out community or social events that can offer you support and companionship.
  • Make time for the most important people in your life. Rather than just rushing around, take a break by planning outdoor winter activities with your children. Plan a date night with your partner by going out to the movies.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits over the holidays. Enjoy a holiday treat, but remember to eat healthy. Continue to get enough sleep and physical activity.
  • Take time for yourself by recharging from all the holiday hustle and bustle. Take a walk, listen to music or read a book.
  • Seek professional help if you need it. If you are feeling down, overly stressed or unable to cope, consider speaking to your health care provider or a mental health professional.

For more holiday coping tips, contact the Health Unit or visit www.hkpr.on.ca .

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For media inquiries, contact:

Emmy Anastasiou, Family Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569 or toll-free: 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2307.

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