Guest Author - Lisa Angelettie M.S.W.
I'm sure you can feel in coming on like clockwork. Much like a seasonal cold or flu, except it feels worse and it comes every year - The Holiday Blues.
Feeling depressed during the holidays is not unusual for people who feel stressed by the upcoming dinners, parties, shopping, and planning that is involved with typical holiday events. It is also common for those that have lost loved ones, divorced, etc.
The holidays can also exacerbate depression in someone who already suffers from it. So it's critical to do what you can to beat the holiday blues - before it ruins what should be a fun and festive time.
Stay Connected - The worse thing you can do for the holiday blues is to be isolated from those who love you - or even like you a little bit:) Many people who are depressed during the holidays are also - lonely.
Write A Gratitude Letter - Haven't you ever complained about someone or something in your life to only later hear about a way more terrible story about someone else's life? Write a letter of gratitude to your parents, God, or yourself - detailing all the things that ARE great about your life today. Although it may be difficult at first, it will help you keep perspective once you complete it.
Get Moving - I think I have talked about this in a million other articles, but the statistics don't lie. Exercise - even mild exercise - helps alleviate the symptoms of depression. Taking a brisk walk in the am before your day or to wind down after your day - is a great way to beat the blues.
Avoid Drinking/Drugging - You need to stay away from things like alcohol or recreational drugs if you are feeling down. While you do experience a temporary numbing effect - your feelings of "the blues" will only become magnified once you come down off of your drug of choice.
Pull Out The Photos - You will not avoid the pain of losing a loved one or an ex by avoiding talking about them, looking at them, or thinking of them. It just doesn't work. This year, consider honoring the "good times" with that person by pulling out the old photos or movies and having a good laugh or cry.
Pace Yourself - If you are feeling depressed, don't say "yes" to everything. Take on one thing or nothing if need be. Do what you feels realistic.
Tell someone - Did it ever occur to you that it would be much easier to get through the holidays if someone else knows how hard it is for you. People that love you - want to help. Even if they don't necessarily know what to do - just having the distraction of someone "trying to help" you in your life could be the solution.
Talking about what is going on with you emotionally (in talk therapy) has and still remains one of the best ways to get through a depression of any kind. It's a drug-free, long-term solution to getting past feeling depressed during the holidays. Ask your primary physician for a referral to a great mental health counselor/therapist in your area.
Lisa Angelettie MSW, "GirlShrink" is a psychotherapist, author, and online advice authority. Her site GirlShrink.com is the #1 "Advice & Counseling" site on the web. Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful depression resources. Subscribe below.