Surviving the Holidays While Coping with Depression
Coping with depression during the holidays can be tough. The holiday season is upon us and with it comes all sorts of internal battles, emotional struggles, financial stretches, and difficult decisions. While that's a harsh description of the most wonderful time of the year, I’ve lived through enough holiday seasons to know that the ratio of holiday spirit to holiday sorrow can sometimes be less than ideal. It can feel like you're drowning in expired egg nog when you’re coping with depression during the holiday months (What Is Holiday Depression?), so I’ve written down a few ways of surviving the holidays while coping with depression.
Tips on Surviving the Holidays with Depression
Holiday Cheer Can Distract You from Your Depression
In both a good way and a bad way, getting into the holiday spirit can distract you from your depression. You can positively soothe your depression by enjoying the celebrations, decorations, and feel-good sensations around you. Just make sure that you don’t confuse being distracted from your depression with ignoring your depression. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the events of the next couple of months and forget to consciously attend to your mental health and basic needs (Depression Does Not Eliminate Your Basic Needs).
When Socializing, Do What Makes You Comfortable with Your Depression
Sometimes people do not understand depression and other mental health conditions, and that’s okay but you need to make sure that you do not suppress your needs to avoid judgment from people who truly don't understand your mental health needs.
If you prefer to have alone time to relax and recharge after a day of socializing with distant family that you won't see for another year, then push to get that alone time. If you’d rather not attend the company holiday party because you don’t actually enjoy being around your coworkers, then don’t go. It’s that simple.
Utilize Alone Time to Check Your Depression
Socialization demands increase during the holiday season and moments of alone time can seem few and far between. Make sure to take time for yourself to breathe and decompress, even if it means sitting on the side and looking at your phone for a couple of minutes or sneaking outside and disconnecting yourself from the inside noise.
I use this alone time as an opportunity to evaluate my brain since I can get overwhelmed by socialization and forget to make sure that my basic needs are met and that I’m doing well. I've been known to go to the bathroom and scream silently to release steam from the inevitable political conversation taking place at the dinner table. If I didn't take that moment to release that frustration, I know that my depression would skyrocket.
Surviving the Holidays with Depression with Mental Maintenance and Coping Skills
At the end of it all, remember that the holiday season is just another set of days. Sure, there are decorations everywhere, holiday sales, and people working to be shinier, merrier versions of themselves but you are still you and your brain still requires maintenance. The holidays are awesome, and stressful, and pretty, and pretty rough. Practice your mental health routine, make an effort to enjoy what you can and you’ll find that surviving the holidays may actually feel manageable (Ways to Prepare for Winter Depression).
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Verbeke, T. (2016, November 23). Surviving the Holidays While Coping with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2016/11/surviving-the-holidays-while-coping-with-depression