Tips For Avoiding Holiday Depression

holiday depression tips avoid

The holidays can be a difficult time for anyone. Busy schedules, travel, weather issues, money woes, family matters, and high expectations can push even the happiest of people over the edge. But for those with depression, the holidays can be particularly troublesome. So many things are happening at once, with so many added pressures, it can be easier to trigger a depressive episode. 

If you suffer from depression, there are things you can do to prepare yourself and avoid triggers during the holiday season:

1.) Have a plan — We all know when the holiday season will get here and what to expect. Make a plan to care for yourself. Develop a routine to help keep you on track, and schedule these things on the calendar, such as reading a book, taking a nap, attending a yoga class, meditation, etc. Be careful not to skip them.

2.) Avoid family conflict — It happens with all families. There is a topic brought up or an uncomfortable moment. You don’t have to be part of it. Separate yourself. Let the person know that you can “talk about this another time” and excuse yourself to the bathroom. Chances are they will get into another conversation in the meantime and/or get the hint. 

3.) Let go of perfection — Holiday perfectionism is a big thing. Everyone wants the perfect tree, the perfect decorations, the perfect meal, the prettiest cookies, and on and on and on. It is ok to let go and take care of you instead. After all, no one is perfect and you will stress yourself out trying to get there. What people really need is you, so focus on that instead. 

4.) Schedule sleep — Sleep is crucial to your overall health. Lack of sleep can easily trigger depressive symptoms. Keep a regular bed and wake up time and don’t let holiday events get in the way. Excuse yourself from that party early, your body will thank you. 

5.) Get help — Lean on friends and family for support. Schedule regular appointments with a mental health professional or join a support group. If you are grieving loved ones during the holidays, talk about it. Share your story. Let it out. 

6.) Exercise — Whether it is a daily walk, fitness class, or a morning run, make it happen. Don’t let holiday plans ruin your workout routine. Exercise is so important in keeping you feeling your best. 

7.) Think positive — Focus on what really matters and practice gratitude. Be grateful for what you have rather than thinking about all the things you need to do, or wish you could do. Positive thoughts can go a long way in improving mood.

8.) Avoid binging — Oh did Aunt Erma make her delicious pumpkin pie again? That is great, but have one piece instead of three. Don’t overdo it with the cocktails, switch to water or another fun non-alcoholic beverage. Overeating and drinking too much are just going to wear you down and make you feel yucky. 

9.) Say “no” — If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the things you need to do and all the places you need to be, then sit this one out. It is ok to pass up on a holiday gathering. Take care of you instead. 

It is extremely important to prioritize self-care, but focusing time on volunteering or helping a family or friend in need can also help to boost your mood. Maybe consider spending time in a soup kitchen with friends instead of buying gifts for each other—its a mood booster, money saver, and a good deed all in one. 

If you find yourself struggling with depression during the holidays, don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed mental health professional. They can work with you on skills to get you through the season and beyond. 

The psychologists at Wellness Psychological Services are uniquely and expertly specialized in helping you cope with symptoms of depression. We welcome the chance to discuss an individualized plan to meet your needs. Contact us for an appointment anytime.

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