The holiday season is a time for joy, and being with friends and family. But, even though this time of year is full of cheer for some, it brings with it holiday stresses and anxiety for others. Here are three tips to help you cope with your depression and anxiety during the holiday season.
1. Don’t Isolate Yourself
It can be tempting to isolate yourself when suffering from depression symptoms during the holidays. Perhaps you have a relative that knows just how to push your buttons, or maybe your friends and family are far away. Whatever your specific case may be, try to get out and get involved this holiday season.
Before participating in the holiday festivities, reflect on what people or situations may trigger you. The more you prepare, and are self-aware, the easier it will be to steer clear of stressful situations. If you are feeling overwhelmed by a friend or family member, excuse yourself to another room so you can adjust your mindset. You can even start your own holiday traditions where you have control over your environment.
If you are feeling left out, or don’t have any plans or celebrations to attend, make an effort to attend one of the many holiday events in your area. Many local businesses and organizations put on holiday events throughout the season, allowing you to participate in the holiday festivities and avoid feelings of being left out.
2. Practice Self-Care
The holidays can be busy, and it’s easy to lose track of the healthy habits you may have established for yourself earlier in the year. We all like to enjoy the delicious meals and treats that accompany the holidays but do so in moderation. Overeating may make you feel sluggish and tired, further contributing to feelings of depression. Try to exercise as well - getting in a good workout releases endorphins that can lift your mood.
3. Lean on Your Support System
Despite all of your mental preparations for the holidays, sometimes the stress of the season is unavoidable. When you feel overwhelmed by the season it’s important that you reach out to your support system. This could be a friend or a family member that you can turn to when things start feeling difficult to manage. Stay in contact with your support system regularly whether you’re meeting for coffee, or just talking over the phone. Being able to discuss your emotions with someone close to you can help alleviate some of that holiday stress.
It is important to know when holiday stress becomes something more serious. If you are suffering from symptoms of depression, feel depressed, have suicidal thoughts or feelings, or have concerns about your mental health, contact your family physician or psychiatrist right away. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and schedule an appointment to address your mental health needs.