The holiday season is a happy time for many people, but for some, it can bring negative emotions and stress. Depression during the holidays can spoil your festivities as well as harm your health.
If the holiday season brings depression and stress, using a few practical tips can get you through it and help you enjoy the season.
What Is Holiday Depression?
Holiday depression is symptoms of depression that occur during the holiday season due to seasonal reminders of past stress-points, such as issues with family, or the demands of seasonal commitments, like parties, baking, cleaning, shopping and entertaining.
When the stress hits the highest point, it becomes tough to stop and recover because the demands of this short season can be overwhelming.
Tips for Coping with Holiday Depression
Here are some ways to avoid the escalating depression that might mark your holidays:
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
If you have recently experienced the death of somebody close to you or you just can't always be with your loved ones, understand that it's quite normal to experience sadness and pain. It's completely fine to take some time and cry or convey your feelings. You can't push yourself to be happy simply because it is the holiday season. Suppressing your emotions will only make them worse.
If you are feeling lonely and have depression during the holidays, seek out social interaction or other holiday events. They can provide companionship and support. You might also consider volunteering since helping others is a good way of lifting your spirits.
2. Surround Yourself with People Who Make You Happy
Surrounding yourself with family, friends or community members can also make you happy if you are suffering from depression during the holidays. However, if your family does not make you feel comfortable and secure, be sure to schedule time with people who do.
There are no rules about holidays. Get together with the people you enjoy and develop your own holiday rituals. Share happy holiday traditions from your childhood with the people in your life who are your adult family, whether they are related to you or not.
3. Stick to a Budget
Stick to your budget when holiday shopping for gifts, decorations, grocery shopping and more. Before you start shopping for gifts and food, make a decision about how much money you will spend. Then, firmly stick to your budget. If you’re unsure of what to buy for people, you can try out alternatives like donating to a charity in somebody's name, giving homemade gifts or starting a family gift exchange. Rushing around to buy a bunch of stuff that exceeds your budget will only result in more stress. Debt is not a happy condition.
Always reserve particular days for baking, shopping, visiting friends as well as other activities to cope with depression during the holidays. Plan menus and make shopping lists in advance to prevent last-minute scrambling. To reduce party planning stress, arrange help for preparations as well as cleanup.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Always take care of yourself. Allow yourself sufficient time to relax, sleep, eat well and exercise. Overindulgence in unhealthy habits will only add to guilt and stress.
Eat a healthy snack before attending a holiday party, and that way, you’ll be less likely to consume excess sweets, or other unhealthy food. Take a casual walk at night, listen to some soothing music, get a massage or read a book. Spend some time for yourself. This can help keep you feel mentally balanced and better able to deal with any stress the holiday season may bring.
5. Seek Professional Help If Necessary
Despite your greatest efforts, you might still find yourself feeling sad or worried, plagued by physical pain, unable to sleep, short-tempered, desperate and not able to handle day to day interactions and commitments. If these feelings continue for some time, talk with your doctor or seek professional counseling.
Enjoy Your Holidays
Don't let the holidays become something you fear. Take some steps to cope with depression and minimize the stress that can develop during the season. Identify your holiday trigger points, like personal demands or financial pressures, so find alternative ways to deal with them. With positive thinking and systematic planning, you can get peace and conquer depression during the holidays.