Depression: There’s no place like home for the holidays

| December 04, 2001

Depression during the holiday season can afflict anyone, but truckers are some of the best candidates. Their jobs can keep them away from their families. When they do get home, it’s usually not the extended time off many other people enjoy. And when owner-operators are suffering tremendous pressure just to make ends meet, it’s hard to afford nice gifts and easy to feel guilty about it.

Carriers can’t get everyone home for the holidays, says Melody Bronson, director of driver relations for Stevens Transport. “A lot say they can handle it – and then the time comes and the family wants them home for the holidays,” Bronson says.

“A lot will abandon their trucks or quit andgo home.”

As for financial pressure, setting a spending limit can help, advises Dorothy Cantor, former president of the American Psychological Association. On APA’s website, www.apa.org, she reminds readers that love cannot be equated with spending. You can touch someone deeply with a meaningful and personal gift or by enjoying low-cost holiday activities, such as driving around to see Christmas decorations.

Additional suggestions from the National Mental Health Association:

  • Do something for someone else.
  • Avoid excessive drinking.
  • Start a tradition to celebrate the holidays in a new way.
  • Save some time for yourself.
  • If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder – a depression that’s worse during the winter – spend time outside because sunlight can provide relief, even if it’s cloudy.

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