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Preparing to Beat the Holiday Blues

Preparing to Beat the Holiday Blues

The holidays are touted as a season of joy and happiness—but is that really true for all individuals?

No, says Dr. Seema Sehgal, a psychiatrist at Washington Township Medical Foundation Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. “The holidays are a high-stress period for many people, often caused by financial pressures, family issues, the loss of a loved one, or just the need to ‘keep up with the Jones’ in terms of socializing, gift giving, or even something as simple as sending out holiday cards.”

Some worry that they must give gifts to friends and family members—even if they can’t afford to do so. Others feel pressured to attend holiday parties when they’d rather stay at home or have a quiet dinner or gathering with close friends. “We fall into this trap of feeling we must have the ‘perfect’ holiday just like at other times of the year when we feel we must have the ‘perfect’ vacation or the ‘perfect’ dinner party,” Dr. Sehgal notes.

On Monday, Dec. 18, Dr. Sehgal will present, “Holiday Anxiety: How to Beat the Blues.” This seminar will take place live at 11 a.m. on Washington Hospital’s Facebook and YouTube channels and will cover navigating mental health during the holiday season.

One of the things Dr. Sehgal recommends is taking time to think about what aspect of the holidays is the most stressful for you and, conversely, what do you like best about the holiday season. “Ask yourself: what do I really want to remember about this holiday season; what is the one activity that will bring me the most pleasure?”

She suggests sitting down well in advance of the holidays to develop a plan on how to approach and manage the season. Encourage your family members to think about what it is they would most like to remember about this holiday season when, a month later, they look back on the holiday. “Such an exercise can help children understand that they can’t have it all during the holidays. We all have to make choices as to where to invest our time, energy and resources—this includes children.”

Through her presentation, Dr. Sehgal will remind participants of the importance of self-care. “Self-care is not a luxury. Exercising, getting quality sleep, eating right and meditating, are all examples of self-care that we need to practice on a regular basis—especially during the busy and high-stress holiday season.”

To learn more about Dr. Sehgal or WTMF’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences services, visit

Join the Seminar

To view the Dec. 18 seminar on Facebook, sign in to your account and then go to Watching from YouTube does not require an account. Simply go to

People attending the seminar via Facebook will be able to ask questions directly during the seminar. Questions may also be submitted in advance to If you miss the live event, it will be archived and available for viewing on Washington Hospital’s YouTube channel.