Depression and the Holiday Season

Feeling down during the holidays can be hard especially since everyone seems so happy.  Believe it or not many people who you seem happy during the holidays are also stressed and depressed.  So if the family gatherings, the endless parties, and the shopping get you down, you’re not alone. However people with depression need to be especially careful when coping with holiday stress. . Here are some tips to reduce stress and hopefully  find holiday joy.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Emotions

1. Have modest expectations. Don’t worry about  what the holidays are supposed to be like and how you’re supposed to feel.  Don’t worry about holiday spirit and take the holidays as they come.

2. Do something different. If the  prospect of the usual routine fills you with dread rather than  joy try not to  surrender to it. Try something different to get into the spirit.

3. Lean on your support system. During the holidays, take time to get together with your support team regularly or at least keep in touch by phone to keep yourself centered.

 

4. Don’t assume the worst.  Don’t start the holiday season anticipating disaster. If you try to take the holidays as they come and limit your expectations you may enjoy them more.5. Forget the unimportant stuff. Don’t run yourself ragged just to live up to holiday tradition. Give yourself a break.

6. Volunteer.  Consider taking time to help people who have less than you. Try volunteering at a soup kitchen or working for a toy drive.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Family

7. Head off problems. Think about what people or situations trigger your holiday stress and figure out ways to avoid them.

8. Ask for help .  People may be more willing to help out than you expect; they just need some guidance from you on what to do.

9. Don’t worry about things beyond your control. You can’t control others but  you can control your own reaction to the situation.

 

10. Make new family traditions.  While it’s nice to keep old traditions, you can also add new traditions for the holidays.11. Find positive ways to remember loved ones. Holidays will remind you of the loved ones who aren’t around anymore, try to do something to celebrate their memory.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Parties

12. Don’t overbook.   Don’t say yes to every invitation.  Think about which parties you really want to attend.

13. Don’t stay longer than you want. Going to a party doesn’t obligate you to stay until the end.  Stay as long as you can and leave when you are ready.

14. Have a partner for the party. If the prospect of an office party is stressful, talk to a friend and arrange to arrive  and leave together.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Shopping

15. Forget about the perfect gift. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed,  don’t worry about finding the absolute best gift.   Remember: everybody likes a gift card.

16. Shop online. Save yourself the inconvenience, the crowds by doing most of your shopping online.

17. Stick to a budget. The cost of holiday shopping can grow very quickly,   try to stick to a budget.

Finding the Holiday Spirit: Self-Care

18. Stay on schedule. As much as you possibly can, try to stick with your normal routine during the holidays.  Disrupting your schedule  can make your mood deteriorate.

19. Exercise. While you may not feel like you have the time to exercise during the holidays, the benefits are worth it.

20. Eat sensibly. When you’re facing a dozen holiday parties and family gatherings between now and New Year’s, it’s hard to stay committed to a sensible diet. But try. . On the other hand, don’t beat yourself up if you go overboard some days.   It’s not a big deal. Just get back on track the next day.

21. Try a sun lamp. As the daylight grows shorter, lots of people feel more depressed and sad.  A sun lamp may help to improve your mood.

22. Give yourself a break. “The holidays can make some people dwell on their imperfections, their mistakes, the things they’re not proud of,be  gentle with yourself. Remember it  is the season of kindness and forgiveness, so  save some of it for yourself.

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