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Holiday Blues Eased By Less Spending and More Meaning

By Rhonda Miller | Published 06 Dec 2011 09:58pm | comments
Mark Maneval of Gulfport took a break from putting up holiday decorations to run out and buy some more.

The holidays bring joy and stress. MPB’s Rhonda Miller found some people who have figured out how to keep away the holiday blues.

"Psychologically, Christmas is one of the big stressors, automatically. It’s probably one of the top five. (Is it for you?) It is for me, absolutely, it is for everybody." 

That’s Mark Maneval of Gulfport, full speed ahead with Christmas, stress or not. Maneval is at a discount store grabbing a few more decorations, then heading home to put them up.

"I just think it’s the pressure of giving and the holiday season and the relatives showing up, you know, the bustle and hustle and the parties," Maneval says.

All these activities are something psychologist Steve Barrilleaux hears a lot about at the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center in Gulfport.

"You know, there’s often a lot of folks coming into town or maybe big family gatherings, and those can tend to bring out  issues, you know, family dynamics that maybe involve some unfinished business or conflicts," says Barrilleaux.

He says the holiday blues are pretty common, because it’s supposed to be a cheerful time, but life isn’t that clear cut.

"Of course, it brings back memories, and some are good and some are bad," Barrilleaux says. "If it brings back memories of people who are no longer able to be with you, parents or people who have died, that can cause some changes in functioning, holiday blues."

Barrileaux says changes in functioning that could be a sign of holiday blues are things like not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much.

He says downplaying the financial and time pressures of the holiday can help keep a balance.

Some families have become experts at getting rid of holiday stress and keeping the joy. Enid Agee lives in Long Beach.

"Well, my family and I decided on that awhile back. We didn’t want to make it stressful for our nieces and nephews and our children. So we decided either pull names or just don’t shop," Agee says. "Try and keep the reason for the season."

If stress or depression lasts beyond the season, it could more than the holiday blues. That’s a reason to talk with a family doctor or mental health professional for an opinion. 



Mark Maneval of Gulfport took a break from putting up holiday decorations to run out and buy some more.



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