So it is the holiday season again and you should feel joyful, but try as you might you just can’t get into that festive spirit – in fact you would rather crawl under your bed sheets and cry.
Why is this happening to you and how can you overcome it? Don’t fret – you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in 10 adults experience depression at some point in their lives. Some people experience it throughout the year, while others experience it at specific intervals during year.
It is not uncommon to experience the “blues” or depression during the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year, Easter, etc.). For some, it is the result of stress from holiday planning, but for others it stems from financial problems, loneliness, getting older, change in season, a medical condition, increased work and parenting responsibilities and/or being away from loved ones. Thankfully, there are ways that you can successfully fight depression during the holidays. This article can provide you with valuable tips on how to overcome the “blues” during the happiest times of the year.
Listed below are five ways to fight depression during the holidays:
1. Mentally Prepare Yourself
One of the most important ways to fight depression during the holidays is to mentally prepare for the influx of activities, social events and annoying, outgoing and festive friends and loved ones. Remind yourself that the holiday is temporary and soon the people that you really don’t want to be around will be on their way home. Brush off the unnecessary sarcasm and ignore the taunts and jabs.
Arguing with friends and family over a stupid or insensitive comment during a holiday event will only make your depression worse. Save serious and/or unpleasant conversations for another time, preferably when you feel better. The main thing is to try to socialize with everyone. Truth-be-told, more than likely you would rather get run over by a bull, but it is important to force yourself out of your room (shell) when you feel sad. Who knows you may just wind up enjoying yourself!
Another great way to conquer the “holiday blues” is to exercise. When you feel yourself falling into a “slump” take a brisk morning, afternoon and/or evening walk around the neighborhood with a friend, mate or relative. Exercising will get your endorphins pumping, improve your mood and boost your energy. Sharing your thoughts with a trusted confidant while you exercise will provide you with the support you need to sort out your feelings. So go ahead and get moving!
3. Lighten It Up!
If you want to fight your depression during the holidays, you may need to lighten up your home. In other words, increase the amount of lights in your home. According to Teens Health, approximately 6% of people are diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) each year. SAD can affect anyone (children, teens, adults and the elderly).
It is an “authentic” illness that tends to occur the most during the dark and cold wintery months like Christmas and New Year. The good news is that you can purchase special SAD lights to brighten your home and boost your mood.
4. Budget Your Money
Financial problems can cause you to feel depressed during the holidays, especially when it is a holiday that traditionally involves purchasing gifts for others. An effective way to beat the “holiday blues” is to budget your money. Make a list of all of the people you need to buy gifts for and all of the costs associated with the holiday and prioritize them by importance. Only purchase the items that you can afford. It is the thought that counts and if your friends and loved ones really care about you they will understand.
Reduce the pressure and stress of trying to purchase costly items, by creating one-of-a-kind holiday gifts made from the heart. Purchase a crocheting kit and make your friends and loved ones scarves, hats and/or booties. Attend a pottery class at a local college and make unique vases for those that mean the most to you. Gifting your loved ones with something special will have you feeling better in no time at all.
5. Don’t Try to Be “Perfect”
If you want to fight depression during the holidays, it is important that you remember that you are not “perfect.” In other words, it is ok if the turkey is a little crisp or the mash potatoes are a little too mushy. It is one holiday that will pass soon. No one will remember or care that the event was not “perfect” when they wake up the next morning.
Focus on the things that are going well such as: the rolls are perfectly golden on top, the decorations are really festive and/or everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. The holidays are a time to reconnect with friends and loved ones – don’t let trivial things dampen your mood and ruin your special time with those that matter most.
Above all else, please remember how important it is that you contact your doctor or a qualified mental health professional if the depression interferes with your ability to carry out normal daily functions.