The holidays are a time of family, friends, food and fun. But for you, or a loved one, it may carry the heavy weight of sadness, loneliness and depression.
If you’re feeling the stress of the holidays welling up inside, it’s ok. In fact, we’re glad that you’ve recognized and acknowledged those feelings. That’s such an important (and extremely difficult) step to keep the holidays in check.
The thing about seasonal depression is that it can be just that – seasonal. But that doesn’t mean we ignore it, or act like it goes away after the New Year. Truth is, depression can affect anyone, at any time regardless of age, gender or social status. And it can stick around if we don’t address it. It can come from the memories of a lost loved one, the stress of taking care of a terminally ill family member, or the loneliness from a recent divorce. But it can also be triggered by a work deadline, or the anticipation of hosting a holiday dinner at your house.
There are countless triggers for depression. But regardless of the cause, here are a couple ways you can make it through the holidays – and yes, even find some peace, joy and happiness in the coming weeks ahead.
- Set realistic expectations
It’s in our DNA to try and “out give” last year’s best gift ever. Or “out host” the Jones’s Christmas dinner party. Or “out decorate” our best friend’s house. Slow down! When did moderation become a four letter word – especially during the holidays? This year set some realistic expectations for yourself. Define a budget, create a calendar and make a checklist and stick to it. Managing your time and money will help you manage your stress.
- Stay (or get) active
During the holidays, even the healthiest of us tend to make excuses for indulging. Don’t let the holidays be a free for all. Staying active (or getting active) is a great way to divert our thoughts away from anxiety. Physical activity can ignite a few “feel good” endorphins along the way and serve as a stress release. It can also be a great time for a conversation with a trusted workout partner or group.
- Log out
Social media is largely a forum for aspirational living. It’s what we WANT our lives to be – not what they truly ARE. Yes, your ex appears to be the star of the office party (despite getting a 2-week notice). Yah, your high school friend is all grins on her exotic vacation (despite the constant arguments with her husband). And yup, your brother just bought the car of your dreams (despite having maxed out his credit cards).
Relying on social media posts to define your holiday happiness is generally a bad idea. You never get the real story. This year, rely less on social media and more on reality. The holidays are filled with wonderful opportunities to look outward and focus on doing good for people who are less fortunate. Rendering meaningful service to a widow, orphan or struggling family is one of the best holiday pick-me-up gifts you can give yourself.
Of course, these are just a few tips that can get you started on path to a more joyful holiday season. i360 Dallas can also be a big part in helping you work through the depression, anxiety and stress that inevitably comes packaged with the holidays.
Please visit the rest of our website to learn how we can help. We have some great videos that are a great resource too. Then give us a call or email us if you, or someone you know, is struggling with seasonal depression, stress or anxiety this holiday season. We can walk the journey with you. We can help.