Depression and Anxiety During the Holidays
The holidays are special times we hold dear. Christmas is when families and friends near and far come together. And during the 4th of July, many of us enjoy a celebratory cookout and then watch the fireworks.
You may be fortunate to enjoy making the holidays special with your loved ones. Even so, it’s okay if you struggle with depression and anxiety during this time too.
It could be you have a strained relationship with a parent you haven’t seen in a while. Or, you’re having a hard time at work and need to make some important life decisions.
Life doesn’t stop just because a holiday arrives. Sometimes, as delightful as they are, holidays stir up feelings.
If you tend to struggle with depression and anxiety during the holidays, there’s hope.
Keep reading to discover ways to ease what’s troubling you during the holidays.
1. Take Deep Breaths
It’s amazing how much deep breathing can help you.
Making a habit of taking deep breaths relaxes your muscles and slows down your heart rate. As a result, your blood pressure also decreases, and you experience less anxiety.
Increasing the amount of oxygen that goes to your brain enables you to let go and feel better. So, make time to do some deep breathing exercises. Working on your breathing will come in handy during a holiday.
For example, you may feel stressed thinking about a holiday family outing. When you find yourself getting anxious, do some deep breathing. It should take your mind off what’s worrying you and allow you to relax!
2. Pick Up a More Positive Outlook
You may find that negative thoughts infiltrate your mind. While it’s normal to think unpleasant thoughts, there’s something you can do about it.
Try not to dwell on things you can’t change. Instead, replace negative thoughts with positive ones! Over time, you’ll create a habit of having a good thought for every negative one that pops into your mind.
If you have clinical depression, it may take some time to have a positive outlook again, and that’s okay. Instead, consider talking to a therapist and attending a support group. Both are excellent ways to learn how to reframe your thinking.
Also, stay thankful for things like having a job and a roof over your head. Showing gratitude during the holidays can put things into perspective.
3. Start a New Hobby
Starting a new hobby, even during the holidays, is a great stress reducer. You may think there isn’t enough time to begin a new hobby. But trying a new activity can take your mind off your troubles and focus on something fun!
You can start a new hobby on your own or have a family member or friend join in. For example, Rollerblading could be a blast. And going on a hike at a local park could be a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature!
Suppose you’ve been yearning to try your hand at ping pong. In that case, rope a family member into trying this entertaining game with you.
There’s no shortage of hobbies to start up during the holidays and beyond!
4. Watch a Funny or Favorite Movie
Watching a movie that makes you laugh out loud can sometimes improve your day. So if the holidays are bumming you out, take your mind off stressful events and make time to smile!
Here are some comedies that’ll lift your spirits:
- Uncle Drew
- Knives Out
- Pitch Perfect
It’s nice to play a holiday film, such as It’s a Wonderful Life, during Christmastime. But watching holiday-specific movies may not be your thing. If a holiday film makes you sad, watch something more uplifting that’ll take your mind off things.
5. Add a Supplement to Your Diet
Yes, the holidays can bring out feelings of anxiety and depression. But, it could be that your body is lacking certain minerals as well.
Lacking certain minerals can result in you feeling sad. If you haven’t been feeling like yourself, it won’t hurt to get your bloodwork done.
Depending on what your physician tells you, they may recommend you take a supplement.
Various vitamins can improve your mood. Vitamin D, for example, can help with depression and improve your mood. A few other mood enhancers are B vitamins, vitamin C, Omega-3 oils, and more.
Taking supplements is good for you. Although, they shouldn’t be a substitute for getting vitamins and minerals through food. So make an effort to maintain a healthy diet and take supplements as you need them.
6. Be Aware of Your Triggers
You must know what your triggers are going into a holiday.
For example, you may think of a loved one who passed away, and that makes you sad. Or, seeing a particular person reminds you of a discouraging time in your life.
It’s normal for specific memories and emotions to pop up during a holiday. You may not be able to avoid the trigger, but you can control your response to it.
Be prepared to handle certain feelings that cause anxiety and have some tools ready. Knowing how to cope with your triggers makes it easier to get through any situation!
7. Set Boundaries
Like knowing your triggers, if needed, set some boundaries during the holidays.
It could be that a family member makes you uncomfortable, and you can only spend a limited amount of time with them.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t want to be around a particular person for very long. You’re in charge of your holiday plans, so don’t let other people dictate your schedule.
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable during a family outing, listen to your gut. Boundaries are something you set for yourself. Though it’s challenging, try hard not to be a people pleaser. Instead, do what’s best for you.
Take care of your mental health so you can look forward to the holidays. That way, you can handle whatever comes your way.
The holidays are a time for joy, and yet, you may not always experience feelings of happiness.
Do your best to enjoy the holidays, but don’t beat yourself up if you struggle with feelings of sadness. Experiencing depression and anxiety is common, but you can feel better.
Knowing how to cope with your feelings can result in a better holiday season. With the right tools and techniques, you can overcome whatever you’re going through.
Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at Woodland Park with five years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making Woodland Park the place to call home.