Facing Depression during the Holidays and Winter Season

The holidays can be a time of great joy, but they can also be a time of great sadness; this is especially true if you are grieving a loss, adjusting to a new phase of your life or you suffer from clinical depression.  It can also be difficult to see everyone else seeming so cheerful and festive if you just don’t feel the holiday spirit.  The time change and shorter days at this time of year also bring on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for some people, an unfortunate coincidence with the holiday season.  Adding the stress of planning and attending events to the mix may make you feel like it is all too much to handle and not worth the effort.  However, before you give up on celebrating this holiday season, here are a few things you can try to manage your depression.

1. Be Here Now

Many people tend to reflect on the past more during the holiday season than at other times of the year, and that may bring to mind memories of those who are no longer with us.  While a little reminiscing is good, reminding us of all of the wonderful things, we have done and the great people we have had the pleasure to know, dwelling on the past will bring your spirits down.  We usually remember pleasant aspects of the past more than the bad, so the holidays of years gone by seem better in our memories than they really were.  Comparing the past to the present only sharpens this divide, making now seem even worse.

2. Self- Care is Essential

As we screech back and forth trying to pack everything into our short winter days, make sure you take of yourself too. Even here in sunny Colorado, people who experience SAD often do not get enough sun. So make sure you go out and enjoy the light.

Also, make sure you are getting plenty of exercise and do the things that make you the happiest. Do not sacrifice your own well-being this time of year. Often one of the best gifts you can give is a happier healthier you.

3. Lean on Your Support Network

There are people who care about you!  The holidays are a great time to reach out to the people around you for love and support.  Even if your family and friends are far away, or just seem too busy, they will be there for you if you need them.  This is a good time to reconnect with an old friend or relative.   At South Denver Psychotherapy, our counselors are available to talk if you need them – just call to set up an appointment.