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Friday January 18th 2019

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Is It Holiday Depression Time?

Does Depression hit you or someone in you family during the holidays?

Dealing With Holiday Depression

In theory, the holidays are supposed to be the most joyous time of the year. People plan time to spend Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, and other end-of-year holiday celebrations with their loved ones. Celebrating the new year can be a huge tradition for some families and groups of friends. However, many people suffer from depression or feelings of depression caused by the holidays.  

Depression during the holidays is like any other form of depression – you’re tired, sad, and possibly have lost interest in hobbies you used to like. However, it’s less chronic than depression. With that said, it’s still a problem you should treat.

Here are a few reasons why you may be depressed during the holidays:

  • Your job. Do you work retail, in the food industry, in hospitality, or any other job that’s in high demand, especially at this time of year? The stress and long hours can definitely contribute to your depression. Holiday music that’s good in small doses may end up irritating you after a while if it’s constantly on loop while you’re working.
  • Holiday shopping. Constantly evaluating your finances, hoping you bought the right presents for the right people, buying enough food for celebrations and events, simply waiting in line or in traffic, and other stresses that come with shopping can all contribute to feelings of depression.
  • A change in diet. Americans tend to eat fattier foods, drink more alcohol, and exercise less during the holidays. These behaviors may contribute to depression as well.
  • Seasonal affective disorder. The lack of sunlight and the cold temperatures can disrupt your internal rhythms and spur feelings of depression.

Treating Holiday Depression 

Here are some ways you can treat your holiday depression. 

  • Shop according to your budget. Don’t put yourself in debt just to please someone. Your family, friends, and significant other will appreciate what you’ve bought them. It’s true that the thought matters. More often than not, shopping can be overthought. 
  • Don’t let your job consume you. Sometimes, it’s okay to say no to working extra shifts or staying later than normal to meet deadlines or finish projects. You’re only human, and having too much work on your plate can make you suffer. While getting a new job is an extreme way to solve this issue, in the meantime, learn how to say no if your boss keeps pushing extra days and hours on you. 
  • Get out more. Bundle up and go on a run. Catch a little sunlight. If outdoor exercise doesn’t really work for your area of the country, consider a gym membership, or do some home exercises. Don’t let winter become a time of laziness. Exercise can help improve your overall mental health in many ways.
  • It’s okay to splurge a bit on food and alcohol during the holidays, but limit yourself. Try sticking to a healthy diet (more or less), consider your meal choices, and enjoy treats in moderation. 

Is it Holiday Depression or Could it be Something Else?

There is always a chance your depression isn’t just seasonal. It could evolve into something worse. Chronic depression can originate from something that seems temporary. It’s a good idea to look into seeking help if you feel that your feelings of depression will linger into the new year or beyond.

Therapy can help you sort out any mental health or emotional issues that you may be struggling with, not just at this time, but year round. And yes, Online Therapy is available. A therapist can help you figure out why you’re depressed, and can teach you coping mechanisms to deal with your stress, depression, anger, or anything else that you may be experiencing. Surviving the holidays and beginning the new year could be made a little easier with a bit of help. Consider reaching out to a counselor today.

Marie Miguel is a contributing editor with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to reach out to people suffering from anxiety and depression.

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