The holiday season and the effects on mental health

The holiday season and the effects on mental health
Overcoming the holiday blues. Photo credit WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The holiday season is a happy time for most but for some, it can bring stress and other negative effects. Dr. Beverly Smallwood at the Hope center spoke to WDAM Monday about why it happens this time of year.

"We can have too high of expectations of these holidays. We think everything is going to be peace and light, and joy to the world. With the stress that we can have during the holidays, that's not always possible," said Smallwood.

Social media can play a big part as well. When browsing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we're likely to see families celebrating the holidays.

"People tend to present their best snapshots, or the happiest pictures. We know that people who tend to be a little depressed visit Facebook. They compare themselves to what they believe other's lives to be, and their lives may not be that way at all," said Smallwood.

For people who struggle with anxiety and stress during the holidays, it's important to continue to take care of your body.

"Our ability to cope when our bodies don't have the right rest, sleep, and nutrition goes down. So, it's just the perfect storm for a lot of stress," said Smallwood.

The recent loss of a family member can play a huge role in holiday grief. The person can become sad at the thought of an empty seat at the table.

"Why not take a little bit of time to talk about the loved one, and maybe share some memories. Certainly, there may be some tears, but it gets it out," said Smallwood.

If the stress becomes too much, contact a doctor or a therapist.