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Dec 10, 2015

Healthy Living has the Christmas Blues

For many, the mere word Christmas brings memories and feelings of happiness and joy. For others, it can cause an instant headache as they crunch numbers trying to figure out how to cover all the expenses that this season brings; and for some, Christmas time brings about an inescapable feeling of sadness. If you’ve found yourself struggling to join in the Christmas cheer; then you are not alone. According to Mental Health Therapist Jennifer Lovell, this is actually one of the times of the year when people are vulnerable to depression. We find out more in tonight’s Healthy Living.



Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Family, food, gifts, holiday, music, parties…there’s a long list of things to look forward to at Christmas time. While, many anticipate this time of year for the merriment; the stress of this season can actually trigger sadness and depression for others. According to Mental Health Therapist, Jenny Lovell; finances, stress, grief, loneliness even separation and divorce are just some of the reasons people may have the Christmas blues.


Jennifer Lovell

Jennifer Lovell, Mental Health Therapist

“I start seeing clients coming in more numbers. Starting around ninth, tenth twelfth of December, I just start seeing more people; I’m really busy in December and generally speaking they are suffering the blues. There are people who get sad because they don’t have the finances to buy gifts that they want to. They get sad because they know that in a lot of cases they are not going to receive any gifts. They’re not going to be acknowledged; their families are abroad, they can’t afford to be abroad. That’s when you begin to think about things like oh they don’t love me because they stay over there with the ones over there and so there’s a lot of reasons why people go into a funk. There’s also a thing about expectations during this season because a lot of folks have expectations because my friends that are having parties with their families and they have lots of friends and I don’t. And so all these things come to the forefront during this time of the year.”


The changes in the seasons – shorter days; longer nights – is known to be a trigger for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a type of depression that is related to, or worsened by, the change of the seasons. Also, if you’ve recently loss of loved one or are grieving a loss; it may add to feeling down during the holidays.


Jennifer Lovell

“Grief isn’t something that happens and you are sad and it goes away. A lot of times, if you don’t go through the process and go through all the stages and come to the acceptance, it accumulates; it’s like a bucket. And so we have things that are accumulating and accumulating and in December, something about December; it’s the birth of Christ, but that’s when people feel like all this grieving that comes to the foreground because when you are not surrounded by loved ones or we are and we are not happy about the way we are being treated and things like that.”


What makes it more difficult for those with Christmas blues is that there is a constant pressure to be happy around this time of year. Lovell suggests allowing yourself to feel the emotions but take action to prevent them from getting worse.


Jennifer Lovell

“Make a list, check it twice and make sure you stay within your budget and determine how much money you want to spend. And don’t go out and use your credit cards and max out your credit cards buying all sorts of things; because seriously that would put me in depression. Kids are going to love what you give them. And yes there are some adults who might not appreciate what you have, but I believe if you think through the gifts that you give people and they are very thoughtful gifts, people are going to appreciate the smallest items. So don’t just go and pick up anything and hand someone. Plan ahead; that’s number one. number two, you need to prioritize things that you have to get done. If you are planning to do Christmas dinner…I know that families get together and people…share the work, everybody has to do something so that no one person is left with the burden of having to do everything. That again also gets you in the sense of being resentful that nobody’s helping. You got to put time aside to do some sort of exercise because exercise builds endorphins, endorphins brings the fun, healthy, happy feeling things in your body. You want to build endorphins; you need to get the exercise…really important. Don’t really indulge over the holidays because you have to pay attention again to depression—people eat too much and you gotta pay attention. Family members again need to point out things to you, in a loving way; not judging but point these things out to you.”


Rely on your support system and let close friends or family know how you are feeling. If the depression is severe and you are feeling hopeless, you should see a professional for help.


Jennifer Lovell

“The thing is that I wouldn’t put on this happy face. If I am feeling sad, I’m feeling sad and I will explain to you why I’m feeling sad. We all have to have one person that we trust that we can talk to and share some of the burden. Whenever you have a burden, you need someone that you can share that with. But I clearly would not say you go out there and put on a happy face and then go out there and cry. It would go away, but it will take time.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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