While many people see the holidays as a time for celebration, others may be immobilized by feelings of despair and probable depression.
According to the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people say their level of stress goes up during the holiday season. This is due to reasons such as lack of time, lack of money, commercialism, the pressures of gift-giving and family gatherings.
Below is a list of suggestions on how to combat holiday depression.
- Don’t judge someone or overreact if they tell you they are feeling down during the holidays.
- If you are feeling down, lean on your support system. Call friends or family and reconnect with them.
- If you sense someone is feeling sad or lonely, try to include them in festivities.
- For yourself, if you know something or someone can trigger feelings of sadness or depression, consider avoiding it or them.
- Keep your holiday expectations modest and don’t expect the holidays to be perfect. If you don’t decorate or put up holiday lights, that’s ok.
- Consider doing something different, such as taking a trip, eating out at a restaurant, or going to the movies.
- Volunteer to help others on Christmas Day, such as serving meals to the homeless or donating food. Sometimes helping those less fortunate can also help by reminding us of what we have.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s with decorating the tree, or telling a friend you feel sad. People want to help so call upon them.
- Eat and drink sensibly, and don’t forget to get in some exercise each day.
- Remember that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can be helped by getting some sunshine, or even using a sun lamp, which can help with seasonal depression.
Albuquerque residents can call the New Mexico Crisis Line at 1-855-NMCRISIS (1-855-662-7474), or the Peer Support Specialist Hotline at 1-855-466-7100.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of the day or night, 7 days a week.