7 Tips on how to Deal with Depression During the Holidays
Depression can sneak up on you. And knowing how to deal with depression during the holidays is important.
These are times when families gather together and people go shopping with friends. Decorations adorn houses and storefronts, people drive around admiring the lights, delicious food is plentiful, and everyone knows it’s the best time of year. But is it?
When the Holidays Are Depressing
If you are in a good situation, then it is the best time of the year. For some, it is not.
- Some people are alone and have no one who cares about them.
- Others are restricted in what they can do and how much they can spend on the holidays due to unemployment.
- And others are sick during this time and wonder whether they will live through the holidays.
So, the best times for some, are the worst times for others.
How to Deal with Depression During the Holidays
Nobody is immune to depression during the holidays. However, there are steps you can take to help mitigate the effect of the holidays on your overall mood.
Recognize Depression Triggers
The key for how to deal with depression during the holidays is to first recognize that you are at risk for emotional issues at this particular time of year. Identify what might set you off and lead to depression during the holidays.
Cope with Relatives
Often, being around family members can cause conflict. Relatives might not approve of your job, your partner, your house, your hairstyle, your religion, your political opinions, etc.
This is a time when you can feel rejected or alienated. Try to accept that this may be how you feel. If you anticipate it, the effect will be lessened when it happens.
The holidays can be a lonely time for some. If you are living with social anxiety that interferes with your ability to make and keep friends, or if being around family causes you anxiety, you might find yourself alone on these special days.
Make a plan as to how you will combat feelings of loneliness, either by distracting yourself from the holiday altogether by keeping busy or by making plans that keep you in contact with others.
Finances can send you into depression during the holidays. What’s worse than having a family and not having the means to give gifts, especially to your children?
To avoid this dilemma, those who have credit cards might go out and buy gifts anyway. When the bills come in and all that debt piles up and you have no way to pay it off, then the stress just gets worse. Again, if you anticipate the problem, you can be mentally prepared for it. Don’t make things worse.
Reach Out for Help for Depression
Overall, if you are honest with yourself about your circumstances and your feelings, you will survive the holidays. Most importantly, if you feel overwhelmed, reach out to a support line, a church, or a crisis center. If you look, there are a lot of people willing to help.
Eat healthy food and get regular exercise during the holidays to help prevent depressed mood. This time of year, it can be easy to slide into bad health habits such as eating junk food and sugary treats, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough exercise.
Stick to a simple plan that allows you some indulgences but also ensures that you keep to a reasonably healthy diet and exercise plan at this time of the year.
Manage Your Depressive Thoughts
Your thinking patterns are critical for knowing how to deal with depression during the holidays. If you find yourself spiraling into a depressive mood, ask yourself what thoughts you were having that made you feel that way.
Write down three of these thoughts, and then think critically about your thought patterns.
Are you creating catastrophes where there are none?
Are you seeing things as black and white instead of noticing the shades of grey?
Get intentional about managing your emotions by regulating your thoughts, and you’ll find it much easier to slide through the holidays without slipping into depression.
How about you? Share your thoughts on how to deal with depression during the holidays in the comments.