The holiday season is one of the most joyous and cheerful times of year. Along with all the reveling, parties, caroling, and shopping, there are also many who suffer from loneliness and sadness. Faced with the overwhelming magnitude and pressure to be “merry” or happy, many sink deeper into depression and spiral further out of control. It’s a widely spread misconception that depression and suicide rates spike during the holiday season (see Does Depression Increase During Holidays?), but the reality is depression exists throughout the year and many are afflicted daily by its ailments. What is different is that during the holidays, it is harder to mask, the ability to cope is lessened, and the pressures become magnified.
Here are 5 tips to help cure the holiday blues:
1.) Acknowledge – The first step to resolving any problem is acknowledging that there is a problem. The longer you deny it, the longer it will linger and the more it will consume you. Admit that something is wrong and you need help. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a show of strength, an ability to take responsibility, and a willingness to make a change.
2.) Speak – One of the major downfalls for many is that they refuse to talk about what’s going on. Holding hurt, anger, sadness, or any unhealthy emotion in for too long is detrimental both mentally and physically and can lead to an assortment of complications. Find someone, a family member, friend, clergyman, or professional, who you can trust and confide in and who will listen and give sound advice. Open up and began to speak about what’s been going on and how you’re feeling. There’s therapy in communication.
3.) Move – Isolation only breeds more isolation. As much as you think you’re sparing others or you don’t want to burden someone with your sad mood, you’re only further hurting yourself. Even if it means forcing yourself, get out of the house – go to the gym, go to the office party, go to a friend’s, go to the movies. Do something that requires you being active and engaging. Outside contact is an endorphin and stimulant that ignites and transmits positive feedback to our sensors and brightens our spirits.
4.) Serve – Not everything we go through is strictly for us. It is meant to help us grow so we can in turn help someone else find their way through. Serving someone else is one of mankind’s greatest abilities and qualities. The power to be a gift to another person is priceless and what is gained is twofold. Not only are you providing some sort of service to someone who needs it, but you are also boosting your own self-worth. It’s a tangible reminder of that you are important and that life can turnaround and may not be as dire as once perceived. Find somewhere to volunteer and change two lives, yours and theirs.
5.) Accept – Now that you have Acknowledged that there is a problem, began to Speak about the issues at hand, Moved in a manner to find resolutions, and began lending your talents through Service, it is now time to Accept it for what it is and own the good and bad. The holidays also foster a sense of peer pressure where many are trying to keep up whether it is party or gift giving or having a joyful demeanor. Accept that you feel the way you do, that your finances are what they are, that your life is your life and be comfortable within that. The moment you start trying to live someone else’s life is the moment you lose yourself.
Depression is real and sadness is an affliction we all encounter at some point. Although these are tips to get through the holiday season, they are applicable year round. The biggest tip still is to remember that this too shall pass. “The More I Think, The More I Thank. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of replacing ‘I’.” ©