Dealing with Holiday Depression

By: Robert Thomson

Have you ever wondered why you feel down around the holidays? Aren’t they supposed to be happy times? Your holiday depression isn’t just your imagination—it’s a very real thing, and many people suffer from it. If you find yourself depressed around the holidays, here are some ways to help cheer you up.

- Acknowledge that your depression is real. If you’re recently lost someone close to you or are away from your family during the holidays, it’s normal to feel a little sadness. Forcing yourself to be happy and pushing away the feelings of grief you have will only repress the emotions.
- Don’t seek comfort in eating or drinking. Many people feel like they’re obligated to gorge themselves during the holidays, but if you’re feeling depressed, you may start comfort eating. Using food to dull your emotions only leads to weight gain, which causes more depression. Likewise, don’t drown your depression in alcohol, either.
- Look for support. If you’ve lost someone, talk to your family about it and share you emotions. If you’re far from home, turn to your friends, co-workers, or religious community. All can offer you support and friendship during the holidays.
- Likewise, you can always volunteer at a local soup kitchen. You’ll find plenty of people to talk to, and you’ll feel good for helping others.
- Make plans. Stress at the holidays can only add to your depression, so do your best to avoid it. Plan out your shopping, cooking, and travel so you have plenty of time to accomplish everything.
- Watch your budget. Again, stressing over money can lead to further depression, so know how much you can spend and don’t let yourself spend more. Look for more meaningful ways of expressing your affection if you have a small budget.
- Some people do experience seasonal affective disorder, a disorder caused by the shorter days. If you suspect this may be the cause of your depression, consult your doctor. You may need to purchase a special light to help fight off the depression.
- Go exercise. During the colder holidays, many people stop doing outdoor activities because of the weather. Find alternatives to these activities—join a gym, learn indoor exercises, or bundle up and go for a run.

Remember that during the hustle and bustle of the holidays to take some time out for yourself. You don’t have to always be on the go. This is why it’s important to plan. In amongst all the shopping, baking, and visiting, be sure you have a few moments each day to relax. Too many people get wrapped up in what’s expected of them during the holidays, and when they don’t accomplish it all, they become more depressed. Remember that holidays aren’t about giving but about being together, and don’t stress over it. Instead, focus on your family or community and enjoy giving what you can.

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