There is nothing wrong with you when you feel depressed during the holidays. All that celebration, joy and good will can actually get a little much. You might believe that you are out of step with the rest of the world, but statistics say that over 40% of the population just feels exhausted and inadequate. Look around the room at your fellow holiday goers; many of them are just as unhappy as you are. There are steps you can take to make yourself feel a bit better.
Holiday Depression Symptoms
Depression is often associated with mental and emotional symptoms. However during the holidays, depression can be related to physical symptoms. If you have headaches, exhaustion and back pain, plus joint and muscle aches in addition you experience digestive problems depression may soon follow. Watch out for dehydration, stomach aches, and tired feet. You may not feel like your sadness comes from these aches and pains but the chemicals in your body are out of balance and send sad messages to your brain.
If you have been or are diagnosed with clinical depression the holidays just make your symptoms worse. Surveys also prove that are those who are not clinically depressed but still feel that the holidays are the worst time of the year. Perhaps this is where the ” “Grinch” came from ” “ just plain old fashioned depression.
Holiday Depression Helps: Tips and Tricks
If you find yourself getting depressed at the thought of endless parties and gatherings, and the expense of shopping, make a conscious effort to reduce stress and find a bit of holiday joy.
- Don”t stress by dreaming of what the holidays are supposed to be. Stop comparing your holidays to abstract movies and Normal Rockwell scenarios. Stop trying to be a cutout.
- If holiday routines make you dread the holidays try something different. Maybe spend Thanksgiving at a restaurant. Go to the movies on Christmas day. Donate money to a charity instead of buying mindless gifts.
- Drop the unimportant things. Traditions are awesome but if they run you ragged trying to keep up with them, stop. So what if you don”t get the tree up and in perfect condition? What is wrong with the Christmas pudding falling?
- Volunteer at a homeless kitchen. Although you may feel stressed and overworked, working for those who have much less than you will give you a sense of purpose. Christmas is supposed to be giving; make a happy dent in the lives of others.
- Stop being depressed about people who are no longer with you at the holidays. Remember them by offering a toast using their favorite drink, taking a walk in the snowy evening, or even just talking to them as if they were there.
- Be specific when asking for help and do ask for help. Request aid when decorating, lugging holiday items up from the cellar or hanging lights. Don”t do everything yourself. That in and of itself is depressing.
- Let go of things that you cannot control. Siblings who bicker and fight ” “ ignore them. Relatives who are as depressed as you ” “ ignore them, too.
- Avoid saying ” “yes” to every little invitation that arrives at your door. Think about your schedule, who and what you really like and only go to those gatherings that are really important to you.
- Leave parties and gatherings when you want and not when your companion dictates. You don”t have to stay until the final morsel is eaten. Maybe just stop by for a minute or so, wish friends Happy Holidays and leave. Go to bed early. Always have a plan of escape.
Just thinking about the holidays can be stressful and depressing. Get yourself up for the shopping game but do follow these guidelines:
- Forget the perfect gift. There is no perfect gift and feeling overwhelmed trying to find this gift is just plain silly. Give gift certificates or make something simple.
- Buy gifts online. The crowds and the horrors of mall shopping can be left behind if you just use the Net.
- Keep your budget in front of you. Stick to what you have and try not to go overboard. Don”t carry a credit card with you unless you are disciplined enough to stay within the limits.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can to alleviate holiday depression. Stay on schedule as much as possible and keep to your normal routines. Don”t stay up all night shopping and wrapping presents. Losing out on sleep is not healthy or wise.
The advice of exercising at least 30 minutes a day applies to the holidays. Exercise is an anti-anxiety and anti-depression system. Work your physical exercise into your errands. Take the long way into the mall, walk a little longer when shopping or run to the post office to mail cards and letters.
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Avoid eating out of the candy bowl. Stay committed to a good diet. You will feel better emotionally, mentally and physically if you eat regular meals. Eating more sugar than normal is really okay during the holidays; smile, enjoy and just get back on track January 1st.
Holiday parties equal heavy drinking (alcohol). This should not be your goal. Alcohol is a depressant and if you abuse it you will feel awful. Limit yourself. Hold a glass of holiday punch for as long as you can and just sip. You will holiday social affects and not be a drunken nuisance.
Do keep up on your medications. Try using a sun lamp. As the days get shorter and the sky lowers you may experience seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Just sitting under a sun lamp for a few minutes a day might improve your mood.
Do give yourself a break every single day. This can be a few minutes meditating, a hot bubble bath at night or sitting in front of the fire with a cup of cocoa. The holidays can be exhausting but they don”t need to be depressing. Keep to your schedule, take care of yourself, give your love and family a hug and remember that the holidays will soon pass.