5 Tips For Winning The Fight Against Depression During The Holiday Season  

The holiday season is a season filled with twinkling holiday lights, gatherings of family and friends at holiday parties, and should be a feel good, joyous time of year. However, for many people the holiday season is far from being the most wonderful time of the year. The winter climate and early darkness chases some people away form public areas, leading them only to find comfort in isolation. Additionally, the increased expectation of spending time with family and friends, gift giving, and putting on that holiday cheer, often becomes overwhelming and creates a season of unrelenting sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness.

Symptoms of depression can appear in a variety of ways which may include, increased sleep or staying up all night, not wanting to interact with others, thoughts of hopelessness, loss of enjoyment in activities, and sharp changes in appetite. If you notice these symptoms developing within yourself or others around you, here are some tips for winning the fight against those feelings and once again finding enjoyment in your holiday season.

  1. Get involved in activity:

Becoming and staying active is a great way to fight depression. Exercising daily, getting out of the house, and moving around town can help significantly in overcoming the holiday blues. Set a schedule for yourself. Decide what time you will wake up, set your alarm, hit the snooze button a maximum of two times, and get your day started. The longer you stay in bed, the easier it becomes for you to miss out on the day. Some great activities are hiking, walking the dog, ice skating at a local rink, playing a board game with the family, or spending a day viewing holiday light decorations in your neighborhood.

2.Commit yourself to volunteer work:

If you have a reason to get out of bed and go out of the house you are more likely to do it no matter what the weather is outside. Volunteering to help others is a great way to increase your spirit. Your presence and giving the gift of time is helping another person feel good during the holiday season. Giving to others is a way to help us find purpose in our existence. Look for places to volunteer in your community, try your local Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, homeless shelter, soup kitchens, or children’s hospital. Still can’t find anywhere to volunteer? Try organizing a toy or food drive in your own community. It is the season of giving; take the opportunity to give the gift of yourself and your time to others.

  1. Stop isolating yourself

Depression hurts. You may feel physical pain along with the mental anguish you are experiencing. The physical pain may come in the form of a headache, an upset stomach, or body aches that make it difficult for you to get up. Try not to let the pain you are experiencing stop you from going out and being around friends and family. Surround yourself with people who will make you smile, who will encourage laughter, and who will make you feel better knowing that you took the time to get up, get dressed, and go out today.

  1. Talk about your feelings.

You may be saying to yourself that you don’t want to burden anyone with your feelings of sadness. Staying to yourself and holding your feelings inside is not the answer. Talk about how you are feeling, get it out with words, allow other people to help you to feel better. Trust that you are not alone. If no one is around to listen to your feelings, start a journal. It is important that your feelings do not stay inside only with you. Get them out and allow others to help you improve your mood.

  1. Start a new holiday tradition:

Holiday traditions can bring the fun back into the holidays. Maybe you remember a fun holiday tradition from childhood that always made you smile and feel a sense of warmth. Or,  if you have never had a holiday tradition, start today. Make your own holiday tradition, and give yourself something to look forward to during this time of the year. Invite friends and family to join in on your new tradition, and make sure you tell them so they know to expect this tradition every year. If they remind you, you will never forget to incorporate your own tradition into the holidays.

  1. Limit alcohol intake

During holiday time, it seems that there are more occasions where the alcohol is flowing, and it may be hard to turn it down. Alcohol is a depressant, so if you are already feeling sad or depressed it will heighten those negative feelings leading to an increase in depressive symptoms. During this time of year do your best to avoid alcohol and allow yourself to gain a sense of enjoyment in alternative activities that give you genuine happiness.

Never feel ashamed to seek professional help if you struggle with symptoms of depression. Depression can seem like an endless cycle, but it doesn’t have to be. Treatment from a licensed professional can help you overcome symptoms and enjoy not only the holiday season, but every season of the year. Have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday!