Usually, the typical types of stress and depression noted in the later part of the year are the seasonal affective disorder and the holiday blues. According to one report from the Mayo Clinic, the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) happens mainly during the late fall and winter months. During this time, the amount of natural sunlight decreases, which causes a hormonal change in the human body. Serotonin, the hormone noted for its calming affect, relies on a certain amount of natural light to maintain its needed level. When natural sun light decreases so does the serotonin. The results of the decrease in serotonin can cause depression, fatigue, and the cravings for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, such as chips, cookies, candy and such help to increase the amount of serotonin in the human body; one of the reasons which could explain weight gain during the holidays. This disorder is found mainly in women, however it can affect anyone.
Holiday blues are quite common and often mimic depression. However, these blues last a very short time and usually by the time the holidays are over, feelings are back to normal. Symptoms of the holiday blues are very similar to symptoms of depression and include fatigue, moodiness, and loss of interest, not eating or overeating. The causes of the holiday blues include stressful shopping, realization of conflicts among family members when gathered together, improper rest, and more demands.
Recently, our ABC local news media carried a story about the increase in stress related depression reported by medical profession. The reason for this significant increase is thought to be caused by the loss of employment or reduction in pay or hours worked. Furthermore, many of the television stations are carrying commercials pertaining to various drugs such as Cymbalta, or Abilify for depression, and state that if the depression is severe to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. One President,
Harry Truman, in particular quoted that “It’s a recession when your neighbor looses his job; it’s a depression when you loose your own.” (Quote found at the Quotations about Unemploymentwebsite.)
Loosing one’s job around the holidays is very stressful. Questions run through minds as to “How will I meet the bills? Will I be able to keep the house? What about the holidays, how can I purchase gifts for the family or children? Worries raise the stress level, and soon this level could result in the fight or flight response. The reason for this response has been taught in various science and psychology classes. The belief was that the fight or flight response was a natural instinct for survival. Hormones such as adrenalin or cortisol were released into the body. These hormones would speed up the heart rate, slow down digestion and give energy and strength to the body which would allow the individual to fight or flee from the danger. (Feeling of heart in throat or panicking feeling)
Today according to the Psychological Review, men and women differ in the handling of stress. According to the co author of the article,
Laura Cousino Klein, PhD, the fight or flight response applies directly to men. During various studies, the results showed that woman used “the tend to befriend” response more so than the fight or flight. Woman would try to befriend as many other individuals as possible, demonstrating that the larger the social group, the greater protection from the enemies; however placed in certain circumstances women may revert to the fight and flight response. According to
Laura Klein‘s theory male and female hormones play an important part in the fight or flight response. For example, she believes that the male hormone testosterone triggers the fight or flight response in males. The hormone oxytocin, is found in male and females, however females have a higher level. Klien believes that estrogen increases the oxytocin in the females, inducing the tend to befriend response.
However, according to the article,
Jim Winslow PhD, has some doubt about the theory and believes that the theory is worth pursuing. Winslow points out that vasopressin, a hormone found in males enhances the bonding in males, and in reality both genders, male and female, are not that different.
During stressful times, individuals may feel very irritable and may even snap, stating things that they really don’t mean. He or she may not eat or even overeat, be unable to sleep or want to constantly sleep. As the stress deepens it can lead to chronic stress or even depression.
With depression, the individual feels unworthy and unable to cope with daily life. He or she may complain of aches and pains tend to keep to themselves. They also may have difficulty in sleeping or want to spend the entire time sleeping. The individual may become very moody, sad, and have unusual thoughts. Sometimes, if the depression is severe enough, the individual may look for a way out, to end everything and become suicidal.
According to WebMD, severe stress causes headaches, raises blood pressure, causes chest pain, stomach upsets, and depression; furthermore stress is linked to six of the leading causes of death. These include heart disease, lung problems, cancer, lung problems, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
First of all, individuals that are severely stressed often resort to old or risky unhealthy habits. These habits include returning to smoking, use of alcohol or drugs to forget, overeating, gambling, sex, and over shopping. Instead of relaxing and calming, these behaviors become an on going vicious circle trapping the individual. Least of all, some individuals look for a way out by committing suicide.
Dealing With Stress:
1. First of all, realize that you are not alone. If your stress is induced by being unemployed or having to take a pay cut or reduction in hours, understand that you are not to blame. Do not be afraid to seek help through various state agencies. After all, you have already paid for those services through taxes you paid.
2. Don’t look back on past years and put yourself down, things and times change. Look ahead instead.
3. Pace yourself. Get plenty of rest, do not try to do everything in one day.
4. Be more realistic, and enjoy the day.
5. Make time for your self, read, relax, and try doing other activities such as taking a walk.
6. If conflicts in family occur, find some excuse and quietly walk away. Remember that the holiday will soon end.
The best way to avoid stressful situations is to plan in advance, don’t wait until the last minute. If you are unemployed the best gift to give is that of yourself. Many individuals have hobbies, and now it’s time to make that hobby pay. Some wonderful gifts to give are from the heart. Try knitting or crocheting items, if you like to cook, homemade jams and preserves are excellent choices. Some other home made items include, wood burning pictures, homemade fishing lures and equipment, candles and soaps,
If you are an individual that does not have any hobbies, then give of yourself. Promise to do something for that individual the coming year. This could include washing their car, shoveling the walk, taking them