Dealing With Depression During the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, but unfortunately, they’re not always filled with the same cheer and goodwill that the movies and storefronts portray. The holidays can also bring a great deal of stress, family issues, and anxiety to the forefront, and if you’re not careful, these stressors can quickly lead to depression. As your trusted online therapist in Michigan, I’m here to take a quick look at some of the different things that can trigger these bouts of depression and what you can do to overcome them.

Dealing With Holiday Depression

TRIGGER: Overworking Yourself
It’s no secret that the holidays are an incredibly busy time of year. With all of the end-of-year deadlines at work, holiday shopping, organizing and dividing family time, and readying your home for guests, it’s easy to become overwhelmed quickly. Before you realize it, you may become so overwhelmed that your brain resorts to depression as a coping mechanism.

SOLUTION: Don’t Take On More Than You Can Handle
It’s time to learn to say, “no.” Don’t feel obligated to host three family Christmas events back-to-back if you’ve already agreed to take on that final project at work. Instead, be honest with yourself about what you handle and what you cannot. There’s no shame in saying “no” if you’re doing it to take care of yourself.

TRIGGER: Family Drama
The movies and the Christmas songs all paint a beautiful picture of family time over the holidays. Laughing families gather around the dinner table, sharing stories from the past year and dreaming of the new year ahead. Unfortunately, many people discover that family time over the holiday is not so blissful. Obstinate siblings bicker and fight, and children of divorced families face the incredible stress of dividing family time between two separate families. 

SOLUTION: Setting Realistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations are one of the biggest causes of frustration and depression. If you know your family is likely to experience some drama over the holidays, be honest about that expectation. Don’t expect everything to be perfect, because (let’s be honest) few things ever go as perfectly as we may have hoped. Instead, acknowledge that your family may experience some challenges this holiday season – but don’t let that stop you from appreciating the time you will get to spend together.

TRIGGER: Not Taking Care Of Yourself
It’s easy to feel buried under a mountain of responsibilities during the holidays. This time of year, many of us become so busy taking care of everyone around us that we forget to take care of ourselves. The daily routines we may have used to recharge throughout the year fall by the wayside, and depression can mount as a result.

SOLUTION: Make Time For Yourself
This holiday season, make it a point to continue exercising, taking hot baths, reading good books, and doing whatever else it is that makes you happy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making self-care a priority – in fact, it’s the secret to success for many successful business owners and entrepreneurs. 

TRIGGER: Mourning The Loss Of A Loved One
The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, but the truth is that many families across the country face incredible grief during this time of year. While there is no scientific explanation for it, we have seen time and time again that more people pass away over Christmas than any other time of year, leaving hundreds of families grieving the recent loss of their loved ones. Even if you did not have a death in your family this year, you will probably find that memories of others who have passed away in years past tend to come to the forefront in December. Between grieving a recent loss and mourning those who have passed in prior years, it’s easy to become depressed.

SOLUTION: Focus On The Happy Memories
Some people try to combat this depression by forcing the deceased out of their minds, but ultimately, this does not solve anything. Instead, I encourage you to embrace your memories of your loved ones – but only the positive ones. Of course we miss our loved ones terribly, but it’s important that you try not to dwell on the sadness you feel. Instead, direct your attention to the happy memories you have of your loved ones – the family vacations you took, the games you played, and the stories you shared. Instead of wishing to bring them back, be grateful for all of the wonderful times you got to share together. 

Don’t Face Your Journey Alone!

Depression can seem like an insurmountable force during the holiday season, but it can be overcome. Don’t be afraid to reach out for the help you may need to find emotional stability and fulfillment this holiday season! As an experienced limited licensed psychologist in Michigan, I would be truly honored to help you combat the grief and depression you may be experiencing this holiday season. There is no shame in reaching out for help – in fact, there is just the opposite. 

Contact Never Give Up Online Therapy to begin your recovery process. You are stronger than you know. Once you set your mind to it, anything is possible!

Samantha M. Ruth, Transformational Psychologist
Online Therapy… Your Therapy, Your Way!
Call: 248-730-5544
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