When a lot of us think of December we think about all of the celebrations that happen during the month. A few of these are Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan. Many people equate these holidays with joy and a time of being with family and loved ones. But for many this time of year can trigger sadness and increased depression. There is an expectation for everyone to want to spread good cheer and give more than they receive. There are a lot of factors that can cause these feelings of hopelessness and depression:
- SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder can happen year round but typically affects those during the fall and winter months. The shorter days and colder months tend to just zap all of your energy and can increase depression. The “winter blues” are real and shouldn’t be dismissed or taken lightly. A lot of times treatment can include light therapy, medication or counseling. Since I work overnights I feel like I get about an hour of sunlight a day! Light therapy has made a huge difference in my mood.
- Finances – A lot of times you might get caught up trying to keep up with The Joneses and you want to make sure your kids or family have everything they want. But the stress of not being able to provide if finances are tight can make you feel like you’re letting people down.
- Stress – Trying to make sure you’ve got the perfect gifts, house is ready for family, dinner for 20 is taken care of…that’s a lot of crap to deal with!
- People Pleaser – Putting yourself last and making sure everyone else’s needs are met can also wear you down.
Many times the majority of the holiday planning is done by women. The shopping, the cooking, planning holiday travel…that alone will wear down the strongest person. This holiday season I want to you to take a look at how much pressure you’re putting on yourself and 5 ways you can cope with depression and enjoy yourself!
- Like I said before, the winter blues are real so don’t take it lightly that you’re feeling some kind of way. Seasonal depression can easily roll on over and in no time it will snowball and get out of control. Reach out and talk with a professional or even consider counseling.
- Don’t put yourself in debt trying to prove that your family had the best Christmas by going on trips you can’t afford or giving your kids lavish gifts that are just going to end up collecting dust by the time the break is over. If money is tight, take the time to talk with your kids and explain the importance of the season and remember making memories are always better than material items.
- Stop feeling like you’ve got to do it all. If your kids are old enough get them to help with cooking holiday meals. My husband does the majority of the cooking in our house and I’m thankful for that. But don’t feel bad about putting everyone else in the house to work too. Smaller kids can help with washing fruits & vegetables and the older kids can help with chopping and mixing it all up!
- Don’t feel like you’ve got to go out of your way to please everyone. There is no way to please everyone! There’s always that one person that no matter what you do they’ll still have something negative to say.
- This is usually the hardest one that a lot of people have trouble with – letting go of toxic people! And the hardest part is that some of those toxic people are family. But if you allow someone into your life that consistently causes you more stress then its better to keep them at a distance. This is not to say that you’ve completely removed them from your life, but there is no sense in going to your Aunt’s house if you know she’ll only criticize how you raise your children, talk down about your spouse or even how you look! Toxic people are joy stealers and their number one goal is to make your life as miserable as theirs.
What are some ways that you try to deal with or combat depression during the holidays?