Typically the holidays evoke visions of happiness and joy with family, friends and holiday gatherings. However, for those without friends or family near, it can be a time of overwhelming sadness, loneliness and stress triggering depression. More than 35 million Americans are affected by depression in their lifetime, and it becomes even more prevalent during the holidays. To keep yourself ‘mentally healthy’ on holiday seasons, keep in mind these…
Tips to Beat the Holiday Blues:
Maintain a fairly normal schedule
Undue stress is experienced with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. Wherever possible, use pre-emptive planning and follow-through to reduce last minute pressures.
Surround yourself with supportive people
Spend quality time with those who you view as your support system.
Eat healthy, minimize alcohol intake, get adequate sleep, and maintain your exercise program
Sleeping less; eating more; and too much sugar, caffeine or alcohol can contribute to emotional stress and make depressive symptoms worse.
Create your own traditions and minimize holiday expectations of others
Expectations of how holiday celebrations ‘should be’ can add stress and bring up feelings of loneliness, frustration and disappointment. Creating your own traditions means making new happy memories with special people that are meaningful to you.
Relax and take the holidays one day at a time
Keep in mind the holidays only last for a short time; your mental health lasts a lifetime.
If the holidays are becoming too stressful and you are experiencing two or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, it could be a sign of a deeper depression that needs the attention of a healthcare provider.
- Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Significant changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Exhaustion, persistent tiredness
- Irritability, anger, worry, anxiety
- Pessimism, indifference
- Impaired concentration or indecisiveness
- Restlessness or agitation
- Inability to take pleasure from former interests
- Unexplained aches and pains