Sunday, November 8, 2015

Depressed during the holidays - Coping skills and tips

Depressed during the holidays
The holiday season is near and as we know it is a time for celebration and family gatherings. But, for many it is also a time of loneliness filled with thoughts of past failures, worries of the future and every day stresses. For some, participating in the festivities it can easily contribute to financial worries and anxiety riddled expectations.
And then there are those that suffer from depression who work very hard at keeping it at bay through treatment and self care, but when the holiday’s roll around, it can be a huge trigger for them, at least for me it was and after sharing my feelings with others, I discovered I wasn’t alone.

The holiday to do list which includes shopping, parties, family reunions, planning, executing and entertaining can make us tense and extremely confused, this can take a toll on many, but even more for those who tend to suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health related issues. It can, if not careful, a trigger for a negative emotional response or even a relapse in mental stability

Being aware that certain emotions may rise and identifying the underlying cause of them is very helpful in coping with these triggers or better yet bringing them to a halt before any of them take flight.

Below I list 10 coping techniques that can help you deal with holiday stress.   

1. Keep your expectations for the holidays realistic. Set reasonable goals.
2. Look toward the future and the great possibilities of the New Year. Focus on the awesomeness of the year to come and don’t entertain negative thoughts of the past, stop those thoughts immediately upon entering your mind.
3. Don’t set yourself up in comparing today with the good old days. Focus on the present and be grateful for the past.
4. Do something for someone else. Volunteer some of your time in helping others, be it an organization or a local event, get involved. Out of self and into others.
5. Find activities that are free, drive around to see the pretty holiday lights and decorations. Build a snowman with children perhaps your nieces, nephew or the neighborhood kids. Children tend to have natural festive spirit.
6. Pay attention to your alcohol intake, too much drinking can increase your feelings of depression.
7. Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way, start a new tradition of your own.
8. Let others share responsibility of the activities. Don't take it all upon yourself. Have others assist you in the decorating, food preparation, and shopping. Add music to the mix.
9. Organization is important, but you do not need to be a perfectioNist. Sometimes a little imperfection can be delightful and fun too. Make a list, not a huge super list, but a reasonable one
10. Make time for yourself. Take a nice scented aromatherapy bath, go to the gym, catch up on some good reading or take some much needed naps. Don’t forget to pop in a good movie in the DVD player, escape to a healthy place by watching something funny and inspirational. Buy yourself a Christmas present while shopping for others. Remember it’s nice to make others feel good during the holiday, but it is important you are feeling happy too.
Remember being of good cheer and spreading joy starts with good physical and mental health.

Have something to add to the list? 


  1. Lovely post. I would add, to take each moment of the day as it comes, and only deal with issues as and when they present themselves. Sometimes you think about things long before they happen and usually they never happen anyway. So, why not enjoy every moment without worry or stress.

  2. RPD, that is great advice! I can remember past occasions where I experienced exactly what you just mentioned.......riddled with anxiety and worry before a gathering, yet when I actually attended it was a completely different scenario. Nothing I imagined or worried about took place if anything the complete opposite, it turned out to be just fine. Thanks for sharing that.


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