Coping With Depression Before & After Christmas

Christmas time can ideed be the most wonderful time of the year. However, Christmas can also be an extremely stressful time of the year, straining even the strongest psyche. There are so many things that can trigger depression and anxiety around the holidays, from having house guests to attending parties to shopping, to caring for kids that are on break from school. Christmas can often be far from a season of peace for many people. Once Christmas is done, the after-affects can be staggering as well. The sudden drop in activity, the sudden drop in excitement, and all sorts of related emotions can lead to depression after Christmas as well. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to cope with depression both before and after Christmas.

First, you should be aware of what things can trigger your holiday depression. Things like relationships with other people, both those in your immediate family and those who you only see around the holidays, can create stress. Financial issues can certainly create pressure, especially if you overspend. There are physical demands to the holiday as well that affect your mood. By recognizing these stressors ahead of time, you are better able to cope with them when they arise.

It is also important to be realistic about your feelings. Realize that it is OK to have feelings of sadness during the season of joy. Look to your family, friends, community, or religious groups for emotional support during this time.

Planning ahead can help to avoid depression around the holidays. Be careful financially. Make a budget, and stick to it. Don’t overcommit, and if you’ve got commitments already, try to enlist help with them. Set aside specific times for shopping, baking, or whatever you need to do, rather than just trying to squeeze these things in.

Beware of New Year’s resolutions. One of the biggest causes for depression after Christmas can be failed resolutions. Make sure that your resolutions are realistic. Try to set smaller and specific goals. Rather than resolving to lose weight this year, instead set a goal of cutting out fast food, or of exercising just 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time.

Finally, be willing to seek professional help if you need it. Many people benefit from therapy or from antidepressant medications. Certainly, if your depression is accompanied by thoughts of death or suicide, you should seek professional help immediately, rather than just trying to cope. Depression can be both dangerous and debilitating, and should be taken seriously.

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