Recognize Your Depression Won’t Disappear Just Because It’s the Holidays
During the holidays, we often feel that we should be happy. When we don’t feel happy during this festive season, when everyone else seems to be having a blast, we can get frustrated with ourselves and feel more depressed than before. Facing depression during the holidays means that you must accept that you have depression and that you’re fighting a tough battle.
Set Realistic Expectations
When our expectations are too high and reality falls short, we end up feeling disappointed. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and be willing to let the unimportant things go. Will it really matter if your living room doesn’t look like a Hallmark greeting card? Do you really need to bring a homemade dessert to the party or can you pick one up at the store? When you have realistic expectations about this holiday season and lighten your load, you’ll feel less stress.
Be Mindful of What You Eat and Drink
Around the holidays, we typically eat more decadently than we normally eat. Sugar and starches cause insulin levels to spike and then plummet. This has an effect on brain chemicals and will leave us feeling moody. The holidays are also times when more alcohol is consumed. Alcohol is a depressant, and regular alcohol use lowers serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels can cause depression, and this compounded combination will most likely increase our depression symptoms. This year, in order to feel your best, be mindful of what you allow yourself to eat and drink. Your mood will thank you for it.
Plan Time for Self-Care Activities
The holidays can be a hectic time and, often, those things we do for ourselves to keep us sane get pushed aside. What activities bring you pleasure and a sense of peace and calm? Reading? Exercising? Taking a bath? Meditating? Plan for self-care activities ahead of time and put them on your calendar so facing depression during the holidays becomes easier.
Avoid Social Comparison
During the holidays, our social media feeds are being filled with all kinds of festive holiday happenings. Remember, these photos and posts are peoples’ highlight reels. Avoid comparing others’ highlights to how you feel inside.
Stick to a Budget
The holidays can add extra stress if you feel you need to go above and beyond for every gift. If money is tight, set a budget and stick to it. Consider:
Using cash to avoid overspending on credit cards
Doing a gift exchange to reduce the number of gifts given
Making homemade gifts
Seek Help if Needed
If, despite your best efforts, facing depression during the holidays gets the better of you, be sure to let your mental health care team know. And if you, or anyone you know, are feeling suicidal, you can get help immediately. Call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for 24/7, free and confidential support.