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How to Deal With Holiday Depression

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Woman sitting alone on christmas, dealing with holiday depression
Published: December 16, 2022
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The holidays can be a joyous time, but for some people, they can also be a time of sadness and depression. This is known as the holiday blues or holiday depression. It’s a common feeling that affects many people during this time of year, especially those with underlying mental health conditions. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of holiday depression, why it occurs, and how to deal with it.

What Causes Holiday Depression?

Holiday depression is a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that can be caused by various factors, such as a change in the season and how it affects our moods, lack of sunlight, loneliness, or feelings of isolation due to the holidays being a time for families to get together, financial worries, and changes in routine such as vacation from work.

Symptoms of Holiday Depression

For people already diagnosed with depression, the holiday blues feel like a multiplier to their existing feelings. If you don’t experience depressive thoughts regularly, the holiday blues can often take you by surprise. Common symptoms of holiday depression include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or sad
  • Lack of interest in things that normally bring joy
  • Sleep issues, like insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Changes in appetite (eating too much or not enough)
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately by calling or texting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

How to Handle Holiday Depression

If you’re feeling the holiday blues, it’s important to take steps to cope with your depression and ensure that you have a safe and happy holiday season. Here are some tips for how to cope with holiday depression:

  • Take breaks from holiday-related activities.
  • Connect with friends and family members who understand how you feel and can provide support.
  • Make time for yourself to do things that bring you joy, such as reading, painting, watching a movie or a favorite TV show, playing music, etc.
  • Exercise regularly to reduce stress.
  • Eat nutritious foods and limit your intake of sugary, processed holiday treats.
  • Set realistic expectations for how the holidays will go.
  • Seek professional help if you feel like you need it.

How to Prevent Holiday Depression

If you experience holiday depression every year or have a family history, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from occurring. Here are some tips for how to avoid holiday depression:

  • Plan ahead for the holidays and make sure you have enough time for yourself.
  • Make a list of tasks that need to be completed, then break them down into smaller, manageable pieces.
  • Spend quality time with family and friends.
  • Be mindful of how much you’re spending on gifts and holiday meals.
  • Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to reduce stress.
  • Set realistic expectations for how the holidays will go.
  • Schedule time for yourself when you can disconnect from technology and do something calming.

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people, but with the right strategies in place, you can cope with holiday depression and have a happy and healthy holiday season. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help managing your depression, reach out to a mental health professional who can provide support.

Post-Holiday Depression

Although the holiday season has come to an end, it’s important to recognize that post-holiday depression can be just as much of a problem. Common symptoms include feeling lonely and isolated, difficulty sleeping, lack of motivation or energy, changes in appetite, and inability to concentrate.

To cope with post-holiday depression, reach out to family and friends, try to stick to a regular schedule and sleep routine, get plenty of exercise, focus on positive activities like reading or listening to music, and practice relaxation techniques. It’s also important to seek professional help if you feel like you need it.

BestMind Behavioral Health Can Help

Whether you’re dealing with the holiday blues or post-holiday depression, we encourage you to reach out to the experts at BestMind. We offer telemedicine appointments, which means you can get the care you need without ever leaving home. We also offer medication management services, so you can get the help you need to feel like yourself again.