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Addressing Depression During the Holidays

The holidays are often advertised as the most wonderful time of the year. However, for many people, it is the season of depression, stress, and anxiety. Some people may feel sad, alone, and overwhelmed, which can worsen their mental health. Depression and the holidays is a real issue that deserves attention and care. But it is not something to be ashamed of. And it doesn’t mean that you are weak or flawed.

Reach out to New Directions Mental Health for depression treatment services in Greensburg, PA, and surrounding areas by calling us at 724.374.7414.

What Is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and subsiding during the spring and summer. It is believed to be influenced by the changes in daylight hours, disrupting the body’s internal clock and leading to feelings of depression. It can also occur during the holidays, as it is a time of year when there are fewer daylight hours and more pressure to feel happy and joyful.

Symptoms of seasonal depression can be similar to those of regular depression and may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or suicidal thoughts

It’s important to recognize these signs and seek professional help if you or a loved one are experiencing them.

How to Address Depression During the Holidays

Navigating depression and the holidays can be challenging. However, understanding and employing coping strategies can make a significant difference. Some helpful tips include:

Acknowledge Your Emotions

Some people feel pressure to be happy, cheerful, and festive, even if they are not. They may pretend everything is fine and try to please others, but it only adds to their stress and sadness.

Instead, it is essential to recognize and accept your feelings, whatever they are. You can talk to a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or support group about your struggles. You can also express yourself through journaling, art, or music. By acknowledging your emotions, you can release the tension and start to heal.

Set Realistic Expectations

Many individuals have high hopes and grand holiday plans, such as buying gifts, decorating the house, cooking a feast, attending parties, and visiting family. While these activities can bring joy and meaning, they can also be exhausting, expensive, and overwhelming, especially if you are dealing with depression.

Rather than overwhelming yourself, prioritize and simplify your to-do list. You can focus on what matters most and delegate or decline the rest. You can also set boundaries and say no to events or people that drain your energy or trigger your symptoms. Setting realistic expectations can reduce your stress and increase your sense of control.

Practice Self-Care

Often, individuals may neglect their physical, mental, and emotional needs during the holidays because they are too busy or too depressed to care. They may skip meals, sleep poorly, use substances, or isolate themselves from others.

However, self-care is crucial for your well-being and recovery. You can prioritize your health by eating nutritious food, exercising regularly, getting enough rest, and avoiding harmful substances. You can also engage in activities that bring you pleasure, relaxation, and positivity, such as hobbies, nature walks, music, or movies. By practicing self-care, you can boost your mood and resilience.

Connect with Others

Although surrounded by others, many feel lonely during the holidays. They may feel like nobody understands them or that they are a burden to others. However, social support is essential for your mental health and fulfillment. You can share your feelings, experiences, and needs with friends and family. You can also volunteer or participate in charity events that align with your values and interests. Connecting with others makes you feel heard, supported, and valued.

Seek Professional Help

Addressing depression during the holidays by seeking professional help can be very beneficial. Seeking professional assistance can provide valuable support for individuals who require extra help in navigating the challenges of holiday stressors.

Depression is a treatable condition, and there is no shame in seeking help when you need it. You can talk to your primary care physician, therapist, or psychiatrist about your concerns and explore your options for treatment. By seeking professional help, you can get the support and guidance you need to overcome your depression and live a fulfilling life.

Call New Directions Mental Health to Begin Your Mental Health Treatment Journey

The holidays can be a challenging time for anyone, especially for those with depression. Depression doesn’t have to define your holidays or your life. By acknowledging your emotions, setting realistic expectations, practicing self-care, connecting with others, and seeking professional help, you can address your depression and find hope and healing.

New Directions Mental Health can help you on your mental health journey. Our experienced mental health professionals offer a wide range of services and programs to support individuals with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health concerns. We offer SPRAVATO® treatment and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy, which are options for addressing resistant depression. These leading-edge options for treatment can help individuals who have tried other treatment methods without achieving success.

Call us today to schedule an appointment at 724.374.7414 or to learn more about how to navigate depression and the holidays. For new clients, you can also contact us online to schedule an appointment. However, for existing clients, please find your office location to contact your office directly.