Some people look forward with great anticipation to the holidays. They may even believe they are the greatest time of the year. Others, however, experience depression during the holidays, they can’t wait until the celebrations are over and the New Year begins.
There are many reasons that some people feel depressed during the holidays. This may be because a person is missing a loved one who has passed, longing for happier times, or coping with feelings of isolation. If you have experienced feelings of depression during the holidays, becoming emotionally prepared in advance can and having access to a personal support system can help. Knowing the most common triggers for depression during the holidays is a good place to start.
Triggers for Depression During the Holidays
Each of the following is a possible trigger along with a few quick strategies for combating those feeling.
- Less hours of light and sunshine during the day. During the winter months, the days get shorter, and sometimes it feels like you’re always walking around in the dark. A lack of sunshine means the reduction of vitamin D inside your body, which triggers depressive feelings.
- Loneliness and being alone. If you have lost a loved one, then certainly the holidays will feel lonely to you until you learn to adjust to your current circumstances. Perhaps, you don’t have many friends in the city where you’re living, or you don’t live close to family members. There’s also the factor of being alone. If you live alone, you might wish that you had a companion to share the holidays with, but when you don’t, it makes you sad.
- Families that don’t play nice together. There’s no easy way to say it; some families have a difficult time gathering in one place for the holidays. Sometimes there are deep seated emotions connected to disagreements that have happened in the past. There are other situations the are connected to childhood issues.
- The guilt factor and others’ expectations for you during the holidays. If you do not live in the same town as the rest of your family, family members may try to make you feel guilty about not coming home for the holidays. Whether you choose to not see your family during the holidays due to an inability to get there (cost, disability, responsibilities) or because you are avoided a particular family member.
- Stress and fatigue. When we are stressed about the situation, it tends to make us feel tired. Then when we try to sleep, the wheels in our brain are going so fast we are unable to relax and don’t get a good night’s sleep. The more we worry about not sleeping, the more stressed out we become, this can especially be amplified during the situation of how we’re going to handle the holidays.
4 Quick Remedies to Help Combat Depression
If you can identify with any of the five triggers for depression above, then here are some quick remedies to help you combat those feelings during the holidays.
- Change how you do the holidays. If the traditional holiday routine isn’t working for you, try something else. Suggest going out to a restaurant for lunch instead of gathering at a relative’s house. Make it a gift card Christmas and request a year of gift cards only, no stress of buying presents for everyone. Or, plan to attend one event for only two hours by previously arranging another outing with someone outside your family.
- Don’t rely on alcohol or other substances to smooth over the rough edges. Alcohol is a depressant. Although you might think that it will help you feel better, it will just spiral you further down into self-pity mode. The same is true for any other substances of addiction. Take a pass.
- Involve your support team. Reach out for online personal support or connect with an individual you trust. Confideing in another can help bolster your outlook and attitude. Make sure that you have access to the people on your team, in case you need some extra help during the holiday season.
- Try to keep yourself on a schedule and get some extra exercise. When you’re filling your time with activities and exercise to help improve who you are, it can have a long-lasting effect on your mood and the way you view the upcoming holiday get togethers.
They say that we talk about the things that are important to us. However, what needs to be said is that if something negative is going on in your life, don’t focus on it, and don’t let it consume you – asking for help when you need it is okay. Remember, I am here to help you – just give me a call.