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Beating Depression During the Holidays Back
Let's begin by understanding that depression is real and it is not a sign of weakness. There are two types of depression, 1) caused by brain disease where people lose some (or all) of their ability to feel happiness from happy things. When you cannot find happiness or pleasure you lose interest in activities and feel sad or numb. 2) Caused by reaction to a severed loss or your involvement in a serious situation. This person can still laugh at funny things but when the situation comes up they are reminded of it and get sad or upset and the cycle of depression starts again. Holidays make a great impact on depression because of what the holidays bring. It is expected that holidays bring happiness but for many people holidays carry a lot of stress. People stress about guests coming in, shopping for gifts, they have to bake, clean or entertain or being lonely because they do not have family.
Here are some tips to help you deal with depression during the holidays:
- Get out and get some sunlight and exercise. This time of the year the days are shorter and the sunlight isn't around as long. Go for brisk walks and get your blood flowing. When you are depressed, your tendency is to stay put so fight it and get some exercise. The release of endorphins will help you to feel better.
- Don't abandon healthy habits. It is easy to over eat or overindulge in other things and this will add to your stress and guilt. Make sure that you eat a healthy snack before you head to a party. Get enough rest and sleep so that your body feels rested.
- Acknowledge your feelings. If you are upset about a loss know that what you are feeling is natural and it is okay to feel sadness and grief. You should embrace the sadness even though it's the holiday season. Reach out to those around you. If you feel lonely or isolated, share these feelings so that others know and can include you. Sometimes people will isolate you because they think you want to be alone. Open communication about your wants and desires will be helpful and beneficial for all.
- Plan your holidays out: If you have to shop: Plan a shopping day. Make a list of those you need to buy gifts for, what you want to get them and what stores should carry these items. If you have to bake or cook: Make a list for what you are baking & cooking. Plan menus and shopping list. This will help you prevent last minute shopping frenzies that will cause so much stress on you.
- Say YES to you, which means you must learn to say NO to others. Saying yes to somebody or something means you will have to say no to you or your needs. You must remember that you need to say yes to yourself so that you can protect yourself.
- Finally and most importantly: If you need professional help, do not put it off. Seek professional help. There is a stigma that has been put on people that seek professional help. Think of it this way - people go the gym for their physical health, people go to church for their spiritual health, people go to school for their knowledge health so going to therapy is to protect, maintain and be emotionally healthy.