Don’t Ignore “Unhappy” Holidays
By Youth First, December 24, 2018
Depression: it happens, especially this time of year with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. If you already battle some depression, it’s the most important time of year to learn to take care of yourself.
Depression doesn’t look the same for every person, and it happens for many different reasons. There can be genetic factors like family history or other risks like traumatic experiences, financial strain, relationship problems, or substance abuse.
Depression is more than just having a bad day or going through ups and downs. We all have setbacks and struggles, but true depression is much more serious and needs to be dealt with before it causes major life struggles.
Most people don’t just snap out of a depression. It is an actual clinical disorder that requires treatment with the help of health professionals, therapeutic interventions and often medication management to get to a healthier place.
Depression can range from mild to moderate to severe, which sometimes includes thoughts of suicide. It’s important to put and keep the proper interventions in place even when symptoms are less intense. I always say it’s just like finishing out an antibiotic even though you’re starting to feel better.
If you think you might struggle with depression, share your concerns with a mental health professional, who will assess the symptoms and recommend a treatment plan.
Here are some other tips for managing depression from mentalhealthamerica.net:
Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others is also a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones.
Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion, and be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry.
Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do.
Make the call. Anyone dealing with a suicidal crisis or emotional distress can also get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).