How To Alleviate Holiday Depression

It may seem hard to believe at first that the “most wonderful time of the year” can sometimes also be the most provoking season of stress and depression. How can a jolly time like the holiday season, which is so notorious for merry spirits and cheer, simultaneously be a source of pervasive stress and melancholy? Surprisingly, holiday blues are more prevalent than you may think, especially if you or a loved one already battle with depression. After all, constantly being greeted with a fervent “Happy Holidays” can make victims of depression feel as though they are not meeting an expectation (the expectation being that you are supposed to be joyful, merry, and virtually tickled pink during Christmas time). With working long hours, busy travel schedules, the financial burden of purchasing gifts, and the general holiday ‘rush,’ it is no wonder depression is so ubiquitous. The easiest way to help yourself or a loved one with seasonal depression is to acknowledge and honor your “blue” emotions. Cry if you need to cry, remember to breathe through stress, and allow yourself to find joy if you can. 

Having a "blue" Christmas? Here are some helpful tips!

1. Spend time with people (in the right doses)

Social isolation can be extremely tempting when you live with depression; however, contrary to popular belief, it can add to feelings of loneliness. It is no surprise that loneliness can be one of the greatest underlying factors of general melancholy and the holidays can oftentimes irreverently amplify that feeling. The best antidote for loneliness is to surround yourself with people who make you laugh, or to merely exchange smiles with your neighbors. Such little efforts of social interaction can uplift your mood and effectively alleviate loneliness.

2. Don’t sleep on traditions

Likewise, Christmas traditions go a long way in alleviating the stress associated with the holiday season, and this doesn’t necessarily involve family traditions either. You can make traditions with yourself simply by indulging in your favorite treats or perhaps taking a nice staycation to relax and spend time digesting tough feelings. 

3. Consider volunteering

Volunteering at local shelters, churches, or non-profit organizations is a great way to temporarily escape those stubborn depressive emotions. Serving and bringing joy to those in need will give you joy in return.,78943

4. Be honest with yourself and others 

It can be so easy at times to conceal our heavy hearts and unwanted feelings that it has almost become second nature. Being bombarded with “How are you?” or “How have you been?” is bound to happen at some point during the holidays, and it can be so comfortable to just reply “I’m good, how are you?” or “I’m fine, thank you.” If you have ever found yourself in this place where you would rather ignore your depression instead of admitting to another that you are struggling, it can leave you feeling worse and even more depressed. Acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay is half the battle. Ultimately, it is important to be kind to yourself and do the things you love if you find yourself having a "blue" Christmas this year. 

Ultimately, it is most important to be kind to yourself and do the things you love.