What are the most common causes of depression during the holidays, and how do you prevent them? It’s not that uncommon to feel low while everyone seems to be up and about, enjoying in the most wonderful time of the year. Those who have depression know how tiring and exhausting it is to deal with it, especially when you don’t know when it’s going to hit you.
What causes holiday depression?
Even people who usually feel content can feel low during the festive season, as stated by Adam K. Anderson, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. This is because everything around us leads us to think about joy, harmony, family time, friends and get-togethers, and when we don’t have even one of these, we instantly begin to feel sad.
The majority of reminders to be joyful come from the media, be it TV, internet, billboards, or newspapers. However, it sometimes causes feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction as the media presents such an idyllic image of a perfect life that we often question ourselves and the lives we lead. And as much as we all love Christmas movies and commercials, there’s something about them that causes everything but joy.
Here are some dos and don’ts to keep depression at bay during the festive season:
Don’t isolate yourself from society
Social isolation is one of the first triggers of holiday depression. You’re surrounded by joyful families, couples and friends happily walking down the street making plans for spectacular Christmas and New Year parties and outings. Somehow, you don’t seem to fit in and you feel lost, and in order to find peace and balance, start to back away from all the social events. But whether it’s due to media, society or your personal experience, people on the verge of depression often feel sad and lonely, and start exhibiting behavior that corresponds to those emotions.
This is what triggers depression. Social isolation shouldn’t be your choice. You should rather try and interact with others as much as possible in order to drive depression away. According to John Cacioppo, Ph.D., director of the Center of Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, the same feeling of loneliness should drive you to make a change for the better, no matter how tough it may seem at the moment.
Don’t put yourself under pressure
Keep reasonable expectations. The holidays are usually a time when everyone is in search of something and expects something from someone. But this can actually be a trigger to unwanted and stressful situations, rather than for memorable experiences. In order to avoid being under stress all the time, and driving yourself to depression, let everyone know, including yourself, what one can expect from you, and if these expectations aren’t sky high, you’ll have less reason to feel down, even if all your plans fall through.
Enjoy in comforting experiences
It’s easy to feel lonely during a season when you’re busy working, making plans, dining out, visiting relatives and hosting them, going on trips, or even planning parties. But, there has to be a certain time each day when you’ll enjoy doing something for yourself. Whether it’s taking a walk, reading a book by the fireplace, going for a jog, making a snowman, or taking a relaxing bubble bath, it’s going to keep your psyche from experiencing a meltdown. The fact is, people feel depression and anxiety because of what’s going on around them, and it makes them feel out of step with the world.
People who have faced depression before should be extremely careful and make a conscious effort to avoid the holiday blues. Although the holiday season is supposed to fill you with joy and happiness, it sometimes only serves as an additional reminder of what you have lost, or are missing. Try avoiding these risk factors. However, if depression still bothers you or your loved one, make sure to take expert’s advice. Professionals at California Mental Health Help are just a call away. Call 855-559 3923.