Do you struggle to associate the holidays with joy and positive emotions? Do you spend the season reflecting and feeling anxious about the new year? You’re not alone. For 320 million people worldwide, the days between November and January come with depression and loneliness. The parties, decoration, and magical mood can overwhelm many people.
Balancing the financial expectations with the stress of event planning can also fuel negative emotions. These feelings get heightened for those who can’t celebrate with their loved ones. Sometimes, you might start experiencing symptoms after the high of the holidays come down. Look out for stress responses like mood swings, fatigue, over-eating, and insomnia.
What causes holiday blues? Have you considered the mental weight of navigating strenuous relationships and situations during this period? What you also eat matters. Over-indulgence in sugary foods and alcohols also contribute to holiday blues. Studies show the link between continuous junk food consumption and depression.
It’s possible to overcome these feelings with the right resources and habits. Let’s learn how to manage depression during the holidays.
In This Article
Ask for Help
Hiding your pain can make it harder to enjoy the holidays. Let the people around you know what’s going on. You can also use the opportunity to set boundaries with your family regarding your limits with planning activities.
Seek out social groups and online communities for support and companionship. While you ask for help, it’s also necessary to allow people to help you. Take a step back and delegate tasks if you have to. If you feel yourself struggling with daily functions, seek professional help from a therapist or a mental health clinic.
Consume Alcohol Moderately
Imagine how distressing it feels to wake up with a hangover over two months. It’s tempting to drink away your feelings of worry as the year rolls to an end. But alcohol triggers feelings of sadness, especially if you drink too much. Now, you don’t have to quit drinking to enjoy the holidays.
Instead, avoid using alcohol to cope with difficult emotions. If you choose to drink at social functions, maintain a limit of two alcoholic drinks.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It might seem easy to avoid your feelings and focus on positive things. But negative emotions only build up the longer you repress them. If you take too long to acknowledge your feelings, you might start feeling depressed when you least expect it.
If you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one or had a tough year, take some time to embrace the difficulty you had to experience. Cry if you have to and express your grief instead of avoiding your feelings.
Get Enough Sleep
The parties and activities never seem to end between November and January. Attending every social occasion can interfere with your sleep schedule. In many studies, scientists show the link between lack of sleep and depression. A healthy sleep schedule keeps your mood stable and gives you the energy to conquer your tasks.
Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Create a peaceful bedtime routine like eating a light meal, journaling, reading, or meditating. Avoid looking at screens and physical exercises before going to sleep.
Limit Screen Time
Do you feel everyone on social media except you looks happy? You have to pay attention to how you feel while scrolling down pictures of expensive holiday gifts on your feed. If this makes you sad, try to overcome the root of your sadness. Spending time on your phone also isolates you from your loved ones.
Social media triggers feelings of depression for many people because they compare their holidays with others. Take the pressure off and enjoy social connections with people around you. Limit the time you spend on these apps and use them to communicate with loved ones instead.
Practice Self Care
Self-care goes beyond going to the spa and buying yourself a fancy gift. Avoiding family conflict is a form of self-care. Take time to tidy your space and complete your pending to-do lists. Create a healthy daily routine and stick to it. But don’t forget to make time for fun. Do something different this holiday and create a new tradition if you can.
Planning activities over two months can also feel overwhelming. Try to set aside some alone time to enjoy your favorite activities. Do simple things like listening to music, meditating, and yoga.
Get Some Movement
Don’t underestimate how exercise can make you feel better. Many people forget to work out while in the holiday frenzy. If you wonder why you feel irritated during stressful situations, it’s because stress changes your mood.
Working out helps relieve stress, especially when you figure out the right exercises for you. If you can’t go to the gym, you can take brisk walks for 35 minutes daily.