Medical House Call: Seasonal depression

Medical House Call: Seasonal depression

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - We have 15 days until Christmas. Some residents have been decking the halls and singing  carols since last month. However, there are many people who find this time of year anything but joyful.

A licensed Pine Belt psychologist who said feeling stressed or even depressed during the holidays is common for many people and for many reasons.

A tip from the doctor is to put the holiday season into context.

"You can start thinking about when you see the Christmas decorations, when you see the Christmas movies, hear the Christmas music. It seems like its earlier every year," said Lynnwood Wheeler, Hattiesburg Clinic Connection's Psychologist. "And what that can do to us is that can start creating for us is expectations of what it is supposed to be like."

Wheeler explained that expectations can be the catalyst for excess, and seeking perfection.

"We are trying to find the perfect gift. As Christmas approaches, sometimes we spend more because we are in kind of a panic mode trying to make it the perfect Christmas," said Wheeler.

Wheeler also said that people oftentimes over extend themselves this time of year.

"We start spending a lot of time in activities that aren't in our usual day-to-day activity list. That could lead to not having as much rest, not as much sleep," said Wheeler.

Wheeler also said the overeating that occurs during the holidays contributes to our moods.

"We can find ourselves eating a lot of things we usually would not be eating. There is a lot of good food around, we find ourselves over indulging," said Wheeler.

Wheeler also mentioned that people who lose loved ones around the holidays may also trigger sadness or depression during the season.

Wheeler said in order to handle the holiday blues is by pulling back and objectively looking at what needs to be done. Wheeler also stressed communication, or giving back to others.

"It helps a lot to set a budget ahead of time," said Wheeler. "Go be part of being a blessing to other people, that gets your focus off of yourself, off of the losses, the holiday, and focused on other people and helping them."