Holiday Depression

The holidays should be a time of joy, good cheer and high hopes for the New Year. Shopping for gifts, decorating the house and preparing for get-togethers with family and friends are usually anticipated events that accompany the season. But many people experience the holiday "blues" during this special time of the year.

Some individuals can have an especially difficult time with the holidays for many reasons. The recent loss of an important person or the memory of a traumatic event, such as a serious illness, can dampen holiday spirits. The inability to perform everyday tasks and holiday traditions, such as preparing a large holiday meal, can make the upcoming events difficult to handle and may cause the person to focus on what they used to do. Others may feel isolated or forgotten as the season reminds them of more enjoyable past celebrations. For others, just getting together with family members can be stressful or depressing.

Whatever the reason, there are ways to overcome holiday depression. Professionals from Barnabas Health Home Care and Hospice offer the following suggestions to help ease the stress of the season:

  • Keep your expectations reasonable. The holidays do not have the power to magically turn sadness into joy. Don't be disappointed if the holidays are not like they used to be. Life brings changes. Each holiday season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way.
  • Take some time for yourself. Allow yourself some time during the holidays to do things that you enjoy, such as taking a walk or listening to music. Give others the same space as well. Having time alone allows you to think about your feelings.
  • Don't overdo it. Avoid overeating and excessive alcohol consumption when feeling depressed. Drinking too much alcohol will make you more depressed.
  • Make plans. If you expect to be home alone during the holidays, consider doing volunteer work at a local hospital or shelter, or make plans with a friend who will also be spending the time alone. Helping others will make you feel better about yourself.

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