It is normal to be really stressed during the holidays. However, a high level of stress can cause depression. It can also make a case of depression worse. There is a difference between the “holiday blues” and depression though. The difference is that the “holiday blues” only occur around Christmas or New Year’s. On the other hand, depression can happen to anyone at any time. Here are some things that you can do to manage your “holiday blues:”
1. You need to understand that alcohol is a chemical depressant. Regardless of what you may think, it does NOT make you feel better. In fact, it will only make you feel worse. This is why you know of mean drunks, sad drunks and people who have committed suicide after drinking heavily. Alcohol will only magnify any sad feelings that you are already experiencing. This is why you really need to watch how much alcohol you drink while at holiday parties and family get-togethers.
2. While you may not enjoy exercising and may even find it painful you will feel a lot better emotionally once you have exercised. A lot of studies have been done to back this up. These studies show that this is because endorphins will kick in once you have exercises and make you feel a lot better than before you had started. Therefore, you should try to exercise 3 to 5 times a week for about 30 minutes each time. This exercise can include walking, joining a gym, dancing, or anything else that gets you moving.
3. Music has been proven to help improve your mood. Therefore, you really should listen to your favorite music wherever and whenever you can. This includes in your car, at work, while exercising, while cooking or cleaning the house, and before going to bed. Of course, this does not have to be Christmas music. It can be any type of music that you enjoy.
4. Make sure that you do not overspend. While this is easier said than done, take a moment to think about how you are going to feel when you get your credit card bill after the holidays are over. There will probably be presents that you wish that you had not bought. Therefore, take some time now to make sure that you only buy those things that you absolutely love. This will instantly cut the amount of your bills down a great deal.
5. Do your best not to attach negative memories to the holidays. For instance, if someone close to you died the day before Christmas, then remember that they died from a specific cause, not because of the holiday itself. These two things are very separate events. If you can keep yourself emotionally in check in this way, then you will fair better this Christmas.
6. A lot of people experience the holiday blues because they have a picture of the way they think that things should happen at this time of the year. This year, forget all about the holiday movies that you have watched in the past. They were only written in order to evoke emotion. They are not how real life is. Therefore, you really should not place such high expectations on the holidays or the people that you share them with. Instead, try to just go with the flow.
If you have feelings of stress and depression that last longer than 4 to 6 weeks, then you may be experiencing a more serious bout of depression. In this case, you really should consult a mental health professional in your area.