Some people look forward with great anticipation to the holidays, and they think it’s the greatest time of the year. Others, however, can’t wait until the holidays are over and the New Year begins. There are many reasons that some people feel depressed during the holidays, especially if they have suffered the lose of a loved one. However, there are other emotions that can trigger depression during the holiday season. Becoming emotionally prepared for the holidays is key. Knowing the most common triggers for depression during the holidays is a good place to start. Let’s look at the top five triggers for depression during the holidays, followed up with 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 when everyone is trying to deal with, especially when it comes to someone else’s personality and quirks.
- 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, sometimes someone will try to make you feel guilty and ask why you’re 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. For example, instead of getting together at just one person’s home, suggest going out to a restaurant for lunch, or skip the task of buying presents for everyone and make it a gift card Christmas. 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, and 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 – skip it!
- Involve your support team. This could be a paid counselor, such as myself, or an individual whom you trust and can confide in that can help bolster your outlook and attitude during the holidays. 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.