Christmas depression may seem like an oxymoron. After all, we’re used to hearing about “Christmas cheer,” and that it’s “the most wonderful time of the year.” Let me tell you, though: It is real “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” ―
I won’t spend much time going into the hows and whys of (worsening) depression at Christmas time. Let’s just say the shorter years, low vitamin D levels, and a host of personal and social factors can play a part. Instead, let’s go into some ways to deal with depression at this time of year.
Pace yourself. Far too often, we feel pressure to go out, meet up, do this, do that. You know, the celebratory stuff. It’s important to remember, though, that your resources are limited. Don’t put all your effort/energy into one day, or you’ll burn yourself out. Delegate holiday tasks so you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed.
Set realistic goals. Maybe you can’t buy everybody a big flashy gift, and you don’t have the energy to go to every single party, and that’s okay.
Avoid overspending. Many of us are depressive spenders, and the holidays are probably the biggest temptations to do this. However, when the bills come, and you don’t have the money to pay them, the stress will only make your depression worse.
Focus on the here and now. Make a conscious decision to enjoy the present. Make time for yourself. You may feel pressured to do what everyone else wants, but instead ask yourself, “What’s good for me? What do I want?” This cannot only help with feelings of loneliness. But help fill down time that could otherwise be spent wallowing in depressive thoughts.
Spend time with friends/loved ones. Supportive, caring company can be a big help. Go out, make new friends. A blossoming friendship is a beautiful experience, and the newness of the relationship adds meaning to our lives.
- Don’t drink too much.You might think drinking makes you feel better, but alcohol is actually a depressant. It slows breathing, metabolism, and mental processing, which are symptoms of depression. What’s more, the ‘buzz’ is only a temporary, and the withdrawal brings with it worsening feelings of sadness and negative thoughts. (On a side note, alcohol has been known to interfere with antidepressants.)
- Try new ways of celebrating.The same-old holiday routine can be draining. Experiment with new ways of celebrating the holidays. Maybe you (or you and your loved ones) can develop new Christmas traditions.
- Reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while. In the busyness of the year, it’s easy to lose contact with friends and family. The holidays are a great time to pick up the phone or even stop by and catch up. Depression sometimes causes us to pull away from people, and reaching out to them is a great way to combat it.