The holidays are depicted as a joyous and happy time. But for some people, they can also trigger feelings of stress and depression.
There are so many expectations surrounding the holiday season, it’s easy to feel frustrated or overwhelmed.
If you’re already living with depression, this time of year often only makes it worse. Money can be tight. Loneliness and grief are common. Plus, you may feel like you have to please everyone.
Thankfully, living with depression during the holiday season doesn’t have to completely consume your life. When you have the resources to manage that depression, you can get through the season a little bit easier.
1. Don’t Isolate Yourself
Though you might feel like hiding away and avoiding all the chaos of the holidays, isolating yourself won’t make things easier. It will only let your mind wander and cause your depression to get worse.
Instead, reach out to others. It can be especially helpful to reach out to people who might also be lonely or depressed this time of year. Knowing you’re helping someone else can lift your spirits and help you feel better about yourself you.
2. Spend Time Alone
While this step might seem contradictory at first, finding a balance is key. Spending some time alone allows you to reflect on your feelings, your life, and your situation and to put things into perspective.
If you’re living with depression during the holiday season, you might try to push your real feelings down and put on a happy face. Unfortunately, that can make you feel even worse. If you continue to push those feelings down without acknowledging them, the depression can really encompass all your thoughts.
Therefore, don’t ignore your own feelings but spend some quiet time reflecting each day.
3. Get Enough Rest
One of the classic signs of depression is sleeping a lot or not having any drive to get out of bed in the morning. There’s a difference between that depression symptom and making sure you’re getting enough rest.
The holidays can come with a lot of obligations and pressure. Getting enough rest each day (and night) will help to give you energy and will keep you from feeling overwhelmed so you can overcome those classic symptoms.
4. Lower Your Expectations
Perhaps the biggest issue of the holidays is the expectation for perfection. People tend to have an unrealistic idea that the whole season needs to look like something out of a Christmas movie. That drive for perfection is often a huge problem for those living with depression.
So, what can you do about it?
Alter your expectations to make them more realistic. Accept that not everything will be picture perfect. When you do that, you’ll actually be able to appreciate the good things that do happen, and you’ll take a lot of pressure off yourself.
5. Plan Ahead
The holidays can sometimes be unpredictable. But do whatever you can to make your plans ahead of time. Doing this will help you to prepare for how your holidays will be spent (and who they’ll be spent with).
When you have time to prepare for your events, you’ll be under less stress. Conversely, waiting until the last minute to make decisions will cause a lot of pressure and can easily make you feel overwhelmed, which can trigger your depression.
You don’t have to feel sad, lonely, or unworthy this holiday season. Using the aforementioned tips can help you to manage those feelings.
But, if you’re still struggling to get through, it may be time to seek out professional help. Feel free to contact us or read more about our approach to depression therapy by clicking on the link.
Together, we’ll go over more steps you can use to manage your depression and make the most of the holidays.