Health

Holiday depression is real; 8 ways to battle the blues

Several factors can trigger holiday depression: finances, loneliness, stress from obligations, and Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is caused from shorter days with less sunlight.

Ayesha Qureshi
Image: Shutterstock

For some, the holidays aren’t always so holly-jolly. Despite the fun and festivities, it is normal for people to feel sad or depressed.

Several factors can trigger this: finances, loneliness, stress from obligations (decorating, cooking, getting the right gifts), and even Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is caused from shorter days with less sunlight.

With the season now in full swing, here are ways to battle those holiday blues.

1. Plan, plan, plan! From money to time and all in between, this is a good way to keep you from becoming overwhelmed.

2. Budget. Holiday spending can add up, so set some limits before you head to the mall or plop down at your computer. Aside from gifts, don’t forget to add in the costs for food, decorations and your sweater for the ugly holiday sweater contest. Once you have a budget, stick with it — it will help you feel empowered.

3. The dreaded holiday weight gain. This can greatly cause depression and frustration. Try to resist those yummy treats. After all, you’ve probably had those holiday cookies many times before. Or practice portion control and maybe eat one, not five. Scan a buffet before loading up your plate; then take only what you would most enjoy. Which leads to the next tip…

4. Move! It’s a great way to help with depression. Just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, can provide a great mental boost. Find an activity you enjoy. If possible, find something to do outdoors, like walking, to take advantage of sunlight.

5. Speak up. Holidays are a time for brining friends and family together, so don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate some tasks if you are feeling yourself overwhelmed.

6. Fight loneliness. Grab a friend and head to a local coffee shop for some yummy chocolate-mint or gingerbread flavored beverage. Walk around the mall. The trees and lights are beautiful. Also, ‘tis the season of giving. There are a lot of volunteer opportunities to help others and bring smiles to their faces, which in turn will definitely bring one to yours.

7. Don’t forget to relax. It’s important for our mental health to give ourselves breathers. Take some time to yourself. Listen to relaxing music, or find a good book to absorb yourself in. Whatever you feel will give you some quality down time, be sure to schedule that in.

8. Get help. Of course, if you feel your depression is beyond self-coping, professional help is always available. Mental Health America of Central Carolinas comes highly recommended as a place to find local resources.

Ayesha Qureshi is a certified health and wellness coach and has a background in health behavior and health education.

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