JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - It's like in the movie Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswald works so hard to make the Christmas holiday perfect... from the ultimate tree to having the most Christmas lights in the neighborhood. We often strive this time of year to create the environment we've always imagined. But, like Clark, things aren't always going to be perfect, and for some, the stress of it all can lead to the holiday woes.
The holidays are suppose to be jolly like good old Saint Nick, from decorations, spending time with family, and celebrating the true meaning of the season. But, with the hassles of shopping and pressures of preparing the picturesque Christmas depicted in the movies, stress can often get the best of you.
"Shopping, getting food together, and traveling with all those things it's a lot of pressure," says Cristina Shaw works at the St. Bernard's Counseling Center and says this time of year many people suffer from what she calls "Seasonal Affective Disorder."
She says women and those alone during the holidays are often the most vulnerable.
"It's more prone to effect people during the winter months, when there's less sunlight, there's less time outside, the weather is colder," says Shaw.
And, in a month where you tend to feel like you're being pulled in a hundred different directions, the season of joy could transform to a ho-ho-horribly stressful scenario.
Shaw says signs of "Seasonal Affective Disorder" include:
-feeling easily agitated
While this all could just be symptoms of a bad day, Shaw says if they linger, it could be something more serious.
She says it's important to take a deep breathe this holiday season, and not let the stress take over.
"Just accept that the house doesn't have to be perfectly clean, that you don't have to prepare the food all yourself. You can have others chip in or you can go pick up food, whatever you need to do to decrease the stress so that it's a more enjoyable experience," says Shaw.
Shaw encourages people who are struggling with stress and depression this holiday season to contact their physician because help is there.