Holiday blues or holiday depression is a very common phenomenon. While it can occur at any holiday time, the December holidays seem to generate more depression than any of the other holiday seasons.
One reason why is because there is a general expectation that during December, everyone celebrates. People eat differently and experience more stress because of the increase in activity level. They may remember a grandmother who passed away during that year and are especially reminded of her and the holiday traditions she celebrated and contributed to. Maybe a person has an unhappy memory associated with Christmastime. There are a variety of root causes of holiday depression.
Recession, Wishes and Wants
During the winter holidays, there are things that you would really like to do. Parents want to give their children lots of Christmas presents. Or people may want to travel back home to visit aging loved ones. But the reality of those two wishes do not always equal the reality of their financial condition. This is the hard part of the holiday season. Decisions must be made that do not sink the family financially, and these decisions are not easy to make.
You may have to give your children less presents this year and see your aging relatives later, when things pick up financially. Or it may involve saving up money for a few years before the idea can become a reality.
People who are dealing with varying degrees of clinical depression often struggle during the winter holidays. Even if they are taking anti-depressant medication and seeing a therapist, seasonal worries, losses and disappointments often rise to the surface. Feeling depressed is very common during this time when the rest of the world is full of holiday cheer and frantic activity.
Tips for Beating Holiday Depression
1. Take care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.
2. Set realistic goals. Prioritize your activities, budget your money and organize your time. Remember: You don’t have to buy expensive gifts, hit every party and make all the holiday goodies. If your finances have taken a hit this year, avoid using credit cards and give smaller, thoughtfully planned gifts. If the past is bothering you, try minimizing it by replacing past seasonal activities with new ones.
3. Help others. This is a good thing to do when feeling depressed. It distracts you and makes you focus on someone other than yourself.
4. Spend your holiday time with the people who care about you.
5. Attend holiday events and activities that are free.
6. If you are feeling sad, don’t suppress it. Give yourself a time limit to feel blue. After that, move on.
7. Don’t overindulge in sugary holiday food.
8. Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.
9. Create a new Christmas tradition.
Happiness is a Decision
Most people experience a little depression during the holiday season. This is normal. If you are feeling extremely depressed or have thoughts of ending your life, contact a mental health professional immediately. You can also visit your local Emergency Room and they will get you to the appropriate help.
Don’t let the holidays beat you this year. Focus on what you already have, help others and make a conscious decision to be happy and contented. You will be surprised at how easily you make it through the holidays.