"It's the most wonderful time of the year." At least that's what the song says. For some people the holiday season is their favorite. They are joyfully looking forward to the change in weather, holiday food and time with family. Thousands of people pour into shopping centers and stores stock their shelves with holiday cheer. While many people have been anxiously awaiting this time out of excitement, others have been anxiously awaiting this time out of despair. The truth is the holidays are not a holly jolly time for everyone. For many, this time of the year brings about a dark cloud of dread.
Many are unaware that depression peaks during the holiday season. A lot of this is due to the weather. Anxiety increases due to the crowded lines at every store possible for two months straight. There are a plethora of reasons as to why people get depressed and anxious during this time of the year. Unfortunately, many people suffer in silence because they don't want to seem like the scrooge of the bunch. The truth is, they aren't choosing to be unhappy for the holidays, it's just the depression and anxiety getting in the way. Many people want to enjoy this time but struggle to.
You don't have to feel guilty for your mood during this season. The good news is, you can put things in place to help you get through this hard time.
Here are some tips on how to survive and fight through depression and anxiety for anyone who is dreading this holiday season.
1. Identify what makes you depressed or anxious during the holidays.
Did you have a loved one who passed away around this time of the year or they loved this season? Do winter months and cold weather make you depressed? Do the pressures of holiday parties and getting perfect gifts make you anxious? The key is knowing what it is for you. Once you can identify what triggers your depression or anxiety, you are better able to fight it. Identify your triggers and then work diligently to reduce them.
When you know the winter months are coming, prepare for them. Start getting a list together of things that help you normally fight your depression and anxiety. Have your coping skills ready. Start implementing them heavier now. You should never be caught off guard by the winter months. They come the same time every year. Prepare for them in advance.
3. Move around
One of the things about winter months that can make anyone depressed or anxious is having to be locked away for most of the time. It is easy to sit in the house for days at a time during the winter months and holiday season. Find ways to either be active in your home but preferably, get out of the house. If getting out the house is too hard due to the weather, move around at home. Redecorate by moving around furniture or start a new work out regimen that can be done from home.
4. Find winter hobbies
This is a great way to shift your focus to get excited for the winter months. Find hobbies and interests that are centered around the winter months such as cooking new winter dishes, knitting, or gardening indoors. Either way find things that you normally wouldn't do in any other season.
5. Keep in touch
Just because it's cold doesn't mean you have to cut yourself off from the world. Be sure to stay in touch with those closest to you. Depression and anxiety has a way of forcing people into isolation. Being alone will not make you feel any better despite what you may feel or think. Plus, letting those closest to you know what you're going through gives you accountability partners to help you fight through this season.
6. Eat Healthy
It is easy to binge on all that delicious holiday food during this time. Be conscious of what you are eating. Food and mood are more related than people realize. Eating unhealthy can cause an imbalance in mood if done in excess.
7. Go to therapy
So often people stop going to therapy during the winter months because their depression and anxiety has gotten the best of them. It's easy to find excuses. It's cold, you don't feel like leaving the house, it's dark outside. Do NOT let it win!!! Fight through that small voice in your head saying you don't feel like going. People who see the most progress are the ones who come to session and say "I wasn't going to come today but I'm so glad I did."
There are many things you can do to help fight through your anxiety and depression during this holiday season. You don't have to suffer. Enjoy your holiday season this year!!! Hope this helps!!!