Holiday stress and depression aren’t uncommon. In fact, the holidays can be a stressful time for many people. If you are facing holiday stress, sadness or depression this year, it’s important to reach out for help.
If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, visit a doctor and ask for a referral to a mental health professional. Depression is treatable.
Consider these tips to help manage your symptoms:
1. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Talking about what’s bothering you with loved ones often leads to resolving problems and gaining the support needed to feel better.
2. Exercise more and eat healthier. Physical activity releases endorphins that can lift your mood. Healthy eating also helps improve your health and well-being.
3. Spend time with family and friends who make you feel good about yourself, not those who engage in “fearful” behavior that drags you down or makes you feel guilty for not meeting their expectations.
4. Be mindful of alcohol intake — some studies suggest that alcohol might actually increase depression symptoms in some people, although there isn’t conclusive evidence yet as to why this occurs.
5. Set boundaries with yourself and others. If you know that you cannot handle being around lots of people for too long, set limits with family and friends about how much time you’ll be spending together. It’s okay to say no to social invitations. Take breaks from large gatherings when you need them.
6. Make sure to eat well and get enough sleep. You might be eating a lot more or sleeping less than usual during this time if you’re entertaining often or attending lots of get-togethers, but make an effort to keep up with your normal bedtime routine and healthy food choices as best as possible.
7. Tackle holiday stress by setting realistic expectations for your time commitments. If there are too many holiday parties to attend, prioritize them: Pick the ones that are most meaningful to you, and politely decline the rest. And if you’re running yourself ragged trying to get everything done, don’t forget to treat yourself to some “me time.”