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Holidays Not Always Joyful: Advice from a MA Therapist

December 23, 2009

BOSTON - The holidays can be a time of joy and good cheer spent with friends and family...but for some, it's not necessarily the most wonderful time of the year. Dr. Betty Morningstar is a therapist in Newton and president-elect for the state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She says pressures can run high during the holidays, for a variety of reasons.

"There are the financial pressures and not being able to have enough to give, and having to spend time with families where there may be a lot of stress and the dynamics are unhealthy."

Morningstar says many people suffer from feelings of loneliness and isolation this time of year, and the most important thing they can do is to take care of themselves. That can also be the most difficult thing to do, because of the extra demands that holidays can bring.

"Everyone needs exercise, eating healthy, drinking a lot of water; getting outside, getting some sunlight - because part of the problem with the holidays isn't just the holidays, but it's the time of the year when it's darkest."

Massachusetts has many resources available for people who need help coping with lingering depression or anxiety during the holiday season or throughout the year, Morningstar adds. She suggests finding a licensed therapist or social worker or visiting one of the community mental health centers around the state.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA