The holiday season is looked forward to by billions of people throughout the entire world. People get excited to visit with loved ones and engage in holiday traditions, all while keeping the magic of this season alive for the little ones in the family. However, there are countless individuals who do not share in the same excitement of the holidays as many others worldwide do. This is not because they simply dislike the specific holidays that are being celebrated, rather it’s their depression during the holidays that prevents them from fully enjoying this time of year.
1 in 3 Americans has depression, according to data collected from recent studies. There is a high chance that if you do not have depression, one of your loved ones does. This particular mood disorder can cause dozens of upsetting symptoms, ranging from feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts to excessive sleeping and social withdrawal. Whether it is you who is dealing with depression during the holidays or a loved one, it can be helpful to be aware of how to manage this particular mental health disorder during the holiday season.
5 Tips for Managing Depression During the Holidays
Everyone manages their depression differently, and rightfully so. No two people share the exact same experiences when it comes to this mental health disorder. However, there are several things that all individuals with depression can do to help reduce their symptoms and their stress during the holidays so that they can enjoy the season.
1. Take Care of Yourself
During the holidays, people are encouraged to think of others as opposed to themselves. This is certainly part of the spirit of this time of year and is absolutely something worth engaging in. However, it is important not to give so much of yourself to others that there is nothing left for you. Prioritize yourself so that your depression during the holidays does not get worse. You can do this by ensuring you are getting enough rest, eating as well as possible, exercising, and simply engaging in activities that bring you your own personal joy.
2. Avoid Alcohol and Sugars
If you are dealing with depression during the holidays, there are some things that you can avoid to help improve your odds of coping. Alcohol, for example, can be found at nearly every single place where the holidays are being celebrated. Alcohol and depression have historically never mixed well, as alcohol is a depressant substance that can exacerbate depression symptoms (especially when alcohol is consumed irresponsibly). Alcohol also contains high amounts of sugar, which is one ingredient that has been closely linked to depression. Therefore, it is a good idea to consume sugar in moderation during the holidays to help prevent agitating symptoms of depression.
3. Keep it Simple
People with depression during the holidays can easily become overwhelmed. This particular mood disorder can make even the simplest things seem difficult. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep it as simple as possible when celebrating the holidays. This can be difficult due to the amount of activity that tends to go on at this time, but the good news is that you can control it. Keep plans and expectations simple so that you can preserve your wellness.
4. Lean on Your Support System
There is no doubt that everyone is extra busy during the holidays, but it is important that you call on your support system regardless of what is going on. Chances are they want to be there for you when you feel like you may be struggling. So, whether your support system consists of your parents, your siblings, your friends, or all of them, do not hesitate to reach out to them to talk about what you are experiencing. Depression during the holidays can be extremely difficult to deal with on your own, so having others to lean on can help.
5. Up Your Therapy
Speak with your therapist about your concerns regarding your depression during the holidays and set up a plan to see them more. While you might not feel like you need to increase your sessions at the time, it is likely that once the season gets moving, you will be grateful you made these plans. These extra sessions can help you process feelings in real-time so that they do not build and become worse.
What Should I Do If My Symptoms Don’t Improve?
If you are noticing that your symptoms do not improve despite some of the coping skills you have put in place, it may be time to turn up the heat a little bit. You can always start by trying some different coping skills that you have yet to engage in, however, you may need even more assistance than that. By contacting your therapist, prescriber, or other professionals in your healthcare circle, you can address these issues with people who can offer further assistance, such as increases or changes in medication or adjustments to therapy sessions.
The most important thing you can do if you are still struggling with your symptoms is to ask for help. Even simply talking to a loved one about what you are going through can help make symptoms feel less pervasive.
The Benefit of Having a “Backup Plan”
Everyone is busy during the holidays – everyone. Therefore, the best thing you can do is develop a backup plan that you can enact if your depression becomes unmanageable during the holidays. This backup plan can include gathering emergency phone numbers for your therapist or PCP, as well as knowing where local support group meetings are being held and when. Being able to get yourself the assistance you need is critical, especially considering how difficult it can be to get in touch with those who may be able to offer you assistance.
At Wave Treatment Centers in Philadelphia, we offer a number of services that can not only help you prepare for the holiday season but also help you cope in the moment. We provide psychotherapy and psychiatry services, along with specific treatments designed just for depression, such as TMS therapy and ketamine-assisted therapy. By reaching out to us, we can work with you to ensure that you will have the resources you need to prevent your depression from taking over this season.
Depression Treatment at Wave Treatment Centers in Philadelphia, PA
If you need help managing your depression during the holidays, or if you simply want to start building your own “backup plan” for the holidays, call us right now. One of our trained specialists is ready to answer any and all of the inquiries that you may have. Please visit our website to learn more about the treatment options we provide.
Do not wait until it is too late, get help now.