The holiday season is right around the corner, and many are excited to spend it with their friends and loved ones. However, this time of the year is not remarkable for everyone. For some, holiday depression makes this special occasion a debilitating and challenging experience.
Holidays are mostly filled with parties, celebrations, and social gatherings. But for some, it is a time full of sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety.
Depression may occur anytime, but the stress and pressure during December may trigger loneliness and lack of fulfilment to some. There are several causes as to why a person develops depression during holidays, with social isolation on top of the list.
The feeling of disconnection often results in social isolation during holidays. Unfortunately, spending this special occasion alone makes loneliness and depression worse.
According to Health Engine Australia, many factors contribute to the holiday blues. These include stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialisation, financial constraints, and the inability to be with family and friends. The demand for gift shopping, reunions, and having house guests also adds to the tension.
As a result, the person may develop unhealthy stress responses such as headaches, excessive alcohol consumption, over-eating, and difficulty sleeping.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom of holiday depression is persistent or recurring sadness. The feelings may vary in density and duration, and some people may feel down from time to time.
Other signs of holiday depression may include:
- Change in appetite
- Disruption of sleeping patterns
- Irritability or a foul mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling of worthlessness
- Loss of enjoyment
Feeling down during holiday months may signify SAD or seasonal affective disorder.
SAD is a type of major depressive disorder that occurs during certain months.
6 Tips to Beat Holiday Depression
Here are six ways to deal with holiday depression.
- Limit alcohol
Limit the alcohol intake to avoid excessive consumption. If attending a party where liquor is widely accessible, set a limitation of having one or two drinks.
Drinking in excess can affect mood stability and amplify negative feelings and depression symptoms.
- Avoid overeating
Holiday celebration often leads to overeating, affecting a person’s mood and overall well-being. Before heading out to social gatherings, try to eat healthy food beforehand. Bring a small sandwich bag or snack to fill up the stomach.
- Exercise regularly
A quick power walk or jog around the neighbourhood can get the heart rate up and cause the release of mood-boosting endorphins. Do it 3 to 4 times a week.
- Get a healthy amount of sleep.
Set a strict bedtime every night. Having enough rest can improve a person’s overall mood and help them to become ready to take on the day.
- Learn to say NO
Not making enough time for oneself or overscheduling may lead to exhaustion and emotional breakdowns. Learn how to say no to things that are not of interest and stay firm on the decision.
- Be open to new things.
Holidays often have a standard image of what should be happening. Allowing new traditions to unfold may help alleviate the tension around the holiday season.
- Get support
During holidays, losing a loved one can be difficult, and a person may succumb to isolation and grief. It is helpful to spend time with close friends and families who can provide support through this difficult time.
Holiday depression does happen, and it can disrupt a person’s life differently. Ease its debilitating symptoms by implementing lifestyle changes. Limit alcohol intake, get plenty of rest and schedule a reasonable time with friends and family.
Take a Mental Health first aid course to recognise symptoms of depression and know which steps to take in a mental crisis, especially this coming holiday.