Holiday Depression: 3 Tips to Tackle it
Often I hear from clients: “I usually feel down during this time of year.”
I get it. Holidays can be reminders of our pain. Our loneliness. Our failures.
But the holidays don’t HAVE TO BE the trigger for depression.
Could they be a reminder to heal the old trauma, mend the broken relationships, and do some grieving? Growth happens with some discomfort.
So, instead of welcoming depression with open arms, accept that you may feel some symptoms, but they do not need to run the show.
In addition, some discomfort may be needed for personal growth. No matter what, remember that you. Can. Handle. It. Apply self-care. Talk to a professional–accept support.
(This post is not medical advice. See a mental health professional for assistance.)
3 Tips to Tackle Holiday Depression
1. Maintain your everyday self-care by valuing it as high as the holiday special events. For example, if you jog every morning before breakfast, make a point to keep that going. Plan the special activities around that self-care.
2. Communicate expectations and boundaries that protect your self-care. Permit yourself to tell your loved ones what you will and will not do over the holidays so that you can prioritize your mental health. It may sound like, “I’m happy to join you at the holiday brunch (after I finish my workout). I will not be on time, you can expect me to arrive about 15 minutes late. I respect your time, so if my arrival time doesn’t work, I will have to miss the brunch this time around. Thanks for understanding.”
3. Gently challenge your expectation that your holidays ALWAYS feel depressing and there is NOTHING you can do about it. Words such as always and nothing may be indications of overgeneralizing and/or catastrophizing. Rein yourself in when you notice your thoughts becoming assumptions of the worst. Think to yourself, Is that really true? Is it absolutely guaranteed that I will feel depressed? Instead, think I might feel depressed again this year, but it also might not be as intense as I predict it will be. And if it hits me hard, I know that I can get through it.