All too many people find the end of year festive period and the time leading up to the December holidays stressful and everything but happy and festive. Many factories and businesses close until early January and there???s a mass exodus to holiday resorts.

Perceived Exclusion

Traditionally, it???s a time when families gather to celebrate. Hordes of people take leave from work and go away on vacation during the yearend holiday period, seemingly having nothing but fun, 24/7. On the other hand, some folks, who remain at home, develop a feeling of being left behind and excluded.

Isolation

Perhaps a part of this reaction is due to the fact that they recall a wonderful childhood, which was very different from their current situation, or they may be alone at a time when it appears to them that the everyone else has a partner or is surrounded by a loving and caring family ??? exactly the opposite of their own situation.

Prolonged periods of stress may create feelings of deep depression, which are often accompanied by isolation, both emotionally and physically. The more the sufferer perceives that he or she stands alone against the rest of the world, the more they withdraw into themselves, eventually avoiding all social contact.

Hopelessness

This is a very unhappy place in which to be; the victim of depression cannot see a way out of this dark, hopeless state. They focus on the negative and cannot discern positives, also developing a negative self-image and feelings of unworthiness.

When extreme stress and depression exist for a lengthy period and are not managed and/or relieved, changes occur in the chemical balance of the brain, which may herald the onset of chronic depression ??? a serious disorder.

Seeking Relief

Some seek relief in alcohol, drugs and prescription medication, but such substances only offer temporary relief. In all likelihood, getting medical assistance for stress, anxiety and depression will involve prescribed anti-depressants, usually for a prolonged period, since this is a vital part of managing a chronic disease.

However, professional management of a medicine regimen is essential in order to prevent dependence and eventual addiction, the latter being a commonplace consequence of alcohol misuse and drug abuse.

Stress Management

Remember, every person experiences stress; no one is entirely stress-free throughout their lives, but the critical factor is how it???s managed.

  • Identify the source of or the trigger that causes your stress.
  • Evaluate contributing factors which can be controlled.
  • Balance stressors by ensuring that you do things which are pleasurable.
  • Prioritise responsibilities and manage time accordingly.
  • Identify and utilise relaxation techniques ??? remember that the mind and body affects one another and if your body is relaxed, your mind will be sure to follow.
  • Accept that it???s impossible to do everything, all the time, so eliminate unnecessary items.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep and exercise too.
  • Learn from mistakes; everyone makes them. Failure is as important for your personal growth as is success.
  • Learn to say ???no??? ??? there???s nothing wrong to do so.

When Stress Has Led to Dependence

An inability to manage life???s stresses and stressors effectively is a relatively common cause for the substance dependence and addiction, which afflicts many of the patients at our rehabilitation and recovery centre in Hartbeespoort.

With their informed consent, we apply a multi-pronged, holistic treatment and therapy programme, spanning 7 weeks on an in-patient basis. Our programmes are supported by most major medical aid funds, since they recognise that these diseases are often the result of overpowering stress.