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Seminar offers tips on dealing with holiday stress

By Staff | Dec 18, 2008

The holiday season can be stressful for families having to forego shopping for gifts or organizing celebrations because of the economy. Because this anxiety can eventually lead to holiday depression, Cape Coral Hospital will hold a seminar this weekend to help people cope through Christmas.
The Lee Memorial Health System will host a seminar titled “Helping You Overcome the Holiday Blues.” Hosted by Dr. David G. Kelley, a licensed marriage and family therapist, the seminar will allow residents to overcome their feelings of anxiety and teach them coping mechanisms.
“It is a follow-up for the community of four seminars I gave for Lee Memorial last month,” said Kelley. “It was how to have your employees deal with the foreclosure crisis.”
The seminars hosted earlier this year were for managers, he said, and how they could assist their employees in dealing with stress. Later, a number of community activists including John Sheppard thought it should be expanded to include holiday stress.
“We are going to talk about how people can get through these very stressful times, compounded by the holidays,” said Kelley. “The economic situation is the worst we have ever seen and the worst Christmas we have ever seen.”
In the seminar, Kelley will touch on a number of coping mechanisms such as exercising to relieve stress, balancing proper nutrition, getting enough sleep and even the consideration of medication for those who have persistent anxiety.
“Every time they turn on the television, it is getting worse,” he said. “After awhile that becomes an avalanche and everything is a catastrophe.”
Another mechanism that will be discussed is “reframing,” which is changing one’s perspective and thereby eliminating stress.
“The way we experience the world is the way we see it,” said Kelley.
On top of Kelley’s presentation, Sheppard will share the story of his son who committed suicide, a moment in Sheppard’s life that solidified a personal mission to help people fight depression.
Lane Houk, executive director of Herocare, also will attend the seminar to discuss the financial side of depression during the holidays. Herocare is an organization in Fort Myers that helps service workers with financial security and housing issues.