4 Ways to Avoid Holiday Depression

Updated December 22, 2017

woman with headache in front of christmas tree

“It’s the most wonderful time of year!” Being Christmas eve, you’ve probably heard that that a lot over the past few weeks. But for many people, this time of year isn’t so wonderful. The holidays can be a particularly emotional time for a lot of people.

We’re supposed to be celebrating togetherness, but that can actually put a spotlight on any loneliness you might be feeling. On top of feeling lonely, the holidays can be a time when we’re more likely to be thinking of lost love ones too.

So how can you combat those feelings before they start to creep up? There are no sure-fire ways to prevent some of those sad feelings – sadness is just a part of being human after all. But there are a few things you can do to better set yourself up for holiday success.

  1. Start a New Tradition
    Starting something new is a great way to avoid sad memories from sapping your good mood; since it’s a new thing, there aren’t any memories attached to it! Your new tradition can be as big or as small, and involve as many or as little people, as you’d like.

    If you’re hoping to have a laugh, look for a new game for the whole family to play. If you like cooking, you could find a new recipe to try each year with friends or family – spending all day in the kitchen together, sampling the food as you go, can be the best part of the holidays. Whatever the tradition is, have fun with it.

  2. Know Your Limits
    Everyone has felt pressure from their family for one thing or another. While we may know that our families mean well, sometimes it might not feel that way. When you’ve got parents expecting you in one place, and in-laws expecting you somewhere else, it’s easy to feel spread too thin.

    It may be easier said than done, but knowing when to put your foot down could save your mental health. The next time you feel overwhelmed by holiday pressures, don’t be afraid to say when things are getting too out of hand for you. A simple, “I’m going to go get some fresh air,” should be an easy enough way to excuse yourself from a situation.

  3.  Give Back
    We’ve all heard (and hopefully experienced) how being generous towards others can brighten your own day too. So, if you’re expecting to have a tough time this holiday season, sign yourself up to volunteer somewhere.

    You could help out at a soup kitchen, volunteer at an animal shelter, or even just offer to help a neighbor string their Christmas lights. It’s the act of being selfless that will improve your mood.

  4. Go for a Walk
    It’s so simple, but being outside can do wonders for your mental health. Walking at a brisker pace will force you to take deeper breaths. Deep breathing helps more oxygen get into your bloodstream, which is then carried to the brain. Having plenty of oxygen traveling to your brain can be a big help in regulating imbalances.

    On top of having more oxygen in your bloodstream, natural sunlight helps stimulate serotonin production in your brain. Serotonin is a brain chemical that makes you feel good, so getting a serotonin boost will help improve your mood.

In addition to these tips, Neurocore offers med-free treatment that could help you overcome some of the challenges that come with depression. Visit our website or give us a call to learn more.

Kerr, Michael. (2016, March 21). Holiday Depression. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1
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