Ways to Manage Your Depression Around the Holidays

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But if you’re feeling blue, you’re normal – and here are some ways to manage your depression.

It’s that special season - the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone says it, and the holiday music in the stores remind you of that fact. But if you deal with depression, you may feel more sad and blue than anything.

When you have depression, the holidays may seem stressful rather than merry and happy. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 64% of people who already have depression, say it gets worse around the holidays. But you don’t have to resign yourself to months of struggle. The providers at Nurocoach offer suggestions for managing your depression around the holidays.

What are the common symptoms of depression?

Depression is a very common mental health condition, affecting 21 million adults in the US alone. If you have depression, you may experience some or all of the following feelings:

  • Emptiness
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Despair
  • Self-loathing
  • Worthlessness

These feelings may affect you every day for several weeks, or they may come and go. The important factor is that you don’t feel very optimistic or hopeful a lot of the time.

How the holidays impact depression

The holidays are a time of stress for most people. There’s often a lot of financial pressure. In addition to paying your regular bills, you also have to come up with the money to buy gifts for people, too.

You are likely a lot busier during the holiday season. Between children’s programs at school, shopping for gifts, and possibly participating in more religious services, it can feel like there simply isn’t enough time to get everything done.

Here are a few ways you can cope with these extra demands on your time while still making an effort to find some happiness for yourself.

Stop aiming for perfection

Many people think they have to make everything perfect for the holidays, especially if they’re female. There’s an unspoken expectation of having everything go “just right,” which actually adds a whole lot of extra stress to an already stressful season.

Let go of this need for perfection. Think about the essentials that make the holidays happy and special to your loved ones. Chances are, it’s more about being together than finding the right gifts or baking specific treats.

Say no more often

Let’s face it: many activities that happen around the holidays are more optional than we think they are. Do you really need to participate in that neighborhood cookie sale or charity coat drive? Sure, those can be good things to do. But you don’t need to do them every year.

If there are some activities you can choose to say no to, you should do so. Lightening your load can give you one of the best gifts of all: more time.

Table difficult family discussions

If you have disagreements with some family members, you’re not alone. Many people have family relationships that bring pain or disagreements. Agree to set aside those differences just for the holidays. You can have those difficult conversations later.

Stay active

It may seem unrealistic to think of taking extra time to exercise, especially with how busy the holidays get. But moving your body — even if it’s just for ten minutes at a time — can make a big difference in managing your mood. It will also improve your ability to cope with stress.

Make an appointment with a therapist

Whether you’re already seeing a therapist or not, having someone to talk to around the holidays helps. You can brainstorm ways to cope with your feelings or just vent to someone who will listen and understand.

If you’re dealing with depression, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Contact the providers at Nurocoach or make a request online today for an appointment in one of our offices in Katy or Houston, Texas.