WMU News

Avoiding holiday depression

Dec. 17, 2003

KALAMAZOO--It's natural to want to have the perfect holiday celebration. But unrealistic expectations can be a prescription for the holiday blues, says Dr. Kathy Lewis Ginebaugh, assistant director of the Counseling and Testing Center at Western Michigan University.

"We all would like our holidays to be like some Norman Rockwell painting of what Christmas is supposed to look like, and it seldom is like that," Ginebaugh says. "There can be moments of that, but often there are also moments of stress and strain and sometimes people have conflicts."

Ginebaugh says that when families gather, it can be very fulfilling, but family dynamics aren't always positive. "There can also be longstanding difficulties coming to the fore as well, if you're spending more time together than usual. Uncle George in 15-minute intervals might be OK, but if you spend a whole day with him, it might be kind of wearing."

Ginebaugh advises people to lower their holiday expectations, get rid of perfectionism and avoid over-scheduling themselves during the holiday season. She adds that the holidays are not a good time to hash out family conflicts and says people should focus on the positive aspects of getting together.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400