The holidays are typically seen as a time of happiness and celebration. However, most individuals can attest to the stress associated with this time of year, both emotionally and financially. The holiday blues can get the best of anyone. It can be particularly difficult for those already dealing with a history of depression and other conditions. Here are some suggestions to help manage stress and depression during the holidays.
Signs of Holiday Depression
64% of people with an existing depression report that the holidays worsen their symptoms. Often accompanied by a dizzying array of demands like cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning, and entertaining, the last months of the year are hectic. The holiday blues are more than just fleeting feelings of loneliness or disappointment. Seasonal depression lasts long after the excitement is over and can include:
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty sleeping
- Depressed or irritable mood
- Inability to concentrate
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Being tense, worried, or anxious
- Loss of interest in doing things you used to enjoy
Tips to Help Manage Holiday Depression
Always talk with your health provider if you cannot manage symptoms on your own or notice any of the above symptoms. There are also several things you can do to make the holidays easier to deal with:
- Set realistic expectations. Avoid trying to achieve that picture-perfect result and focus on connecting with loved ones and creating new traditions while enjoying past ones. This also means knowing your limits and when to say no.
- Don’t isolate yourself. If you’re away from family, invite a friend over to hang out or volunteer for something you love.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise has been shown to play a critical role in preventing and reducing depression symptoms.
- Limit alcohol consumption. If you’re feeling down, don’t drink. Excessive drinking increases feelings of depression. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to one or two drinks during a social function.
Beat the Holiday Blues. Join a Study!
If you have a little extra time this holiday season or are looking for a way to give back, joining a research study may be an option! Richmond Behavioral Associates has several current and upcoming depression studies looking into potential new options. Our expert study medical staff can help you learn more about depression to manage your symptoms better. Qualified participants may get the opportunity to try cutting-edge therapies and receive reimbursement for time and travel during their study participation.