17 Dec Overcoming Holiday Depression
Written by, Dara Wilson
A lot of people struggle with increased depression around the holidays. If you think overcoming holiday depression this year will be unusually harder on you or your loved ones, don’t loose faith—we can and will get through this season.
Many studies prove that the depression greatens during the holiday season and is especially worse in people with mental illness. This year with COVID complications and regulations, the spike is suspected to extend well past normal means. Let’s get ourselves all set up for success this holiday season. We definitely all deserve a mental break more than ever this year.
Research shows that overcoming holiday depression is manageable. Every human body is different and everyone’s brain is wired just a bit different than the next person. According to Mayo Clinic, creating a healthy plan to manage your depression, which could be intensified at this time of year, is the most important thing.
- Acknowledging how you feel
Many people during this time are resorting to a common thought: “Well, there are so many others far worse off than me. I have no reason to complain or be sad.” Wrong. We are all human and it is not fair to suppress your feelings in fear of others who might have different problems than you.
- Be realistic
Take a look at what is the cause of your depression. If the core of it is based on things you cannot control, shift your focus. Make a list of things in your life you can control and focus on these things. This may help move your focus to attend to thoughts and activities that make you happy and give your life meaning.
- Plan ahead
If you know that your depression worsens when you wake up, or at other certain times of the day or week, mark a calendar of these times. Then, you can make sure to plan certain activities that have been proven to take your focus off of negative thoughts or behavior.
- Seek support
Identify a support system. If you do not feel like you have a support system, reach out to your community or other social organizations. Listen to their advice. Being outside the box, as they are, allows them to give you a fresh outlook on negative thoughts or reoccurring unhealthy habits. Support systems do a great job of reminding us of things we aren’t realizing we are doing to ourselves.
Focus on healthy habits that have been proven in the past to make you happy. Try new things. Below is a list of common activities that help people cope with depression.
- Take a walk, yoga, hike, or do other forms of exercise. Five minutes of stretching each day improves mood, flexibility, and overall wellness.
- Bake or cook.
- Draw or paint. If you feel inspired or it makes you feel better, color outside the lines.
- Read a magazine or book.
- Complete a crossword or other type of puzzle. We even encourage Googling the clues that have you stumped—learning something new each day is great for keeping you sharp and focused.
- Watch a movie.
- Play a board or card game. Most of our classic favorites are now also available in app versions so if you don’t feel like setting up a board or breaking out the card deck, you can still challenge youreself.
- Drink tea. (Tea is a perfect beverage for lifting spirits and getting into the holiday vibe.)
- Dance around your house. What? You’ve never thrown yourself a dance party? Do it now.
- Set up a punching bag. The amount of joy this can bring is unreal.
- Make a to-do list. Not as fun as dancing or punching the blues away, but it will reduce stress and leave you feeling accomplished.
- Seek professional help or call a hotline for any mental emergencies.
- Complete a “happy moments” jar. Write down when something you did made you happy. Reflect on this once a month or whenever you need a pick-me-up.
- Take deep breathes. Five minutes a day of thoughtful breathing is perfect for reducing stress and lowering your blood pressure. Everyone deserves a break.
- Zoom or other internet meeting apps (even Facebook has improved their virtual hangout features) can turn any lonely moment into a group event. Find light, fun ways to add some sparkle and joy into the holiday season by setting up scheduled virtual events with loved ones.
Chocolate Helps Battle Holiday Blues
The holidays for many people increase stress and anxiety. Remember, the most important thing is to find and continue doing healthy activities that make you happy. Many people are emotional eaters. Indulge the right way with healthy, delicious sweets. Dark chocolate has been found to boost mood and brain function.
Time for our shameless plug: If you’re going to eat chocolate, eat RED. With up to 50% fewer calories and 40% less fat than leading brands, we deliver all of the rich chocolate flavor with no added refined sugar. Flavanols (antioxidants) found in dark chocolate will be the perfect lift your brain needs during this stressful time.
- Crush or chop up to put on holiday cookies.
- Have an online snack break with friends and eat dark chocolate together.
- Spending the holidays alone? Order yourself some and send to others as gifts.
How sweet of a holiday treat is that? Overcoming holiday depression can be exhausting. Yes, your body definitely needs good chocolate. Stock up now.