Dealing with Depression During the Holidays

Contributed by Brandi Fitch

Depression can creep up on you when you least expect it during the holidays. Whether it is the stress from spending money on gifts, grieving the loss of a loved one, or spending time with difficult family members, the “holiday blues” are nothing to ignore and can be dealt with in various ways.

According to Psych Central, the elderly (particularly elderly males), perfectionists and those closely tied to perfectionists, and those who are grieving from loss (recent or not) are the most at risk for being stressed during the holidays. Individuals can have physical and mental symptoms, as well as emotional responses or negative behavioral changes. With this in mind, self-care is extremely important during the holiday season.

Here are several things you can do to improve self-care over the holidays:

Be grateful: If your mind wants to focus on something negative, try to make it positive. Rather than stress about work, be thankful that you have a job.

Decline invitations: It is ok to say ‘no’ to invitations to work parties or family get togethers if you are feeling overwhelmed or overscheduled. Make sure you take time for yourself to relax.

Eat healthy foods: Making good decisions and eating healthier foods can put you in a better mood and help you feel good. Instead of thinking that this is the one time every year that you can eat whatever you want, try to be mindful and eat something small before going to an event so you don’t indulge as much. You can also take a healthy dish along to a gathering.

Embrace new traditions: If you have experienced loss, the holidays can be a different experience. Try enjoying a festival or viewing the lights in the community rather than putting up your own Christmas decorations. You can also serve the community by volunteering if you will be alone on holidays. By investing in someone else, you are taking the focus off any loneliness you may experience.

The Mental Health Association of Franklin and Fulton Counties has several resources available to the community for anyone who is seeking assistance and/or support, which can be found here. Call the Crisis Hotline toll-free at 866-918-2555 if you or anyone else needs someone to talk to.

More helpful tips that can help with stress and depression during the holidays can be found here.