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Has this year been an emotional roller coaster for you?  Bad relationship ended? Stressful job? Drama-filled life? Feeling lonely? As we stroll through the holiday season, for every person who’s a holiday lover, there’s one who dreads the holiday season.

Fall is a marked reminder that summer has ended and is the gateway to “Holiday Blues;” which is related to psychosocial factors such as financial position, increased family responsibilities, loneliness, decreased activity, expectations that one “should” feel and do good, and possible unresolved conflicts with family and relationships.

A more serious depressive disorder seen in some who suffer the “Holiday Blues;” is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or simply put SAD which is bought on by a lack of sunlight, and causes depression as the days get shorter, colder and oddly enough marked with more routine. SAD is estimated to affect36 million Americans, which is about 5% of the population and 80% of the affected population is women, mostly in their 20′s to 40′s.

SAD is also related loosely to a not so clinical problem called “Winter Holiday Affective Disorder” (WHAD) which,is like SAD but with less severity in symptoms and duration. Those who suffer from SAD show signs of: increase or decrease in sleepiness, increase or decrease in appetite, decreased sex drive and energy, anxiety, diminished concentration, headaches and even hormonal fluctuation, which are related to attitudinal changes. The theory that decreased sunlight during fall and winter leads to diminished production of serotonin in the brain; a neurotransmitter that has a calming, soothing effect could be the trigger for SAD.

The following are my Ten Tips to Fighting the Holiday Blues:

1. Socialize- Alienation is “holiday blues” best friend. Don’t make it your friend. Get out and enjoy life. Spend time with people you enjoy and doing things you don’t normally do.

2. Dispose Garbage- Simply remove and eliminate all toxicity. That includes toxic friends, relationships and situations. If it’s truly not your problem or you can’t do anything to fix someone else’s problem than let go of the worry and aggravation.

3. Free – While you free yourself of toxicity – look for free things to do with your time in these hard economic times. No matter where you live there’s always something free going on. If it’s simply browsing and looking at the beautiful holiday displays or attending the church holiday play.

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