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Holidays and Your Mental Health

 |  General

It’s September, and we are slowly moving towards the busiest time of year: the holidays. For some, the holidays are full of fun and family. But for others, the holidays can be a pain point. The holidays are a time of high stress and emotion, which can cause those who have a prior mental health condition to become more prone to depression during the end of the year. 

Notice the Signs and the Causes

Holiday depression usually begins mid to end of October, as the season kicks off. Signs include: 

  • Unusual changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns 
  • Depression or irritability
  • Hard time concentrating
  • Feeling guilty 
  • Feeling more tired  
  • Feeling worried or anxious all the time 
  • No interest in doing things you would enjoy 

One of the main reasons holiday depression hits is due to financial stress. Trying to buy gifts for everyone in your life can be stressful, and not being able to afford something can bring feelings of guilt. The holidays also mean the end of the year, which can bring feelings of failure or regret for not doing all you wanted to do during the year. 

How to Fight the Holiday Blues

The first step is to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to share some of the weight you are feeling around the holidays. These professionals offer unbiased advice, opinions, and even the tools to combat it. There are other things you can do to make the holidays easier to deal with: 

  • Try not to be alone: Although alone time is nice and necessary at times, do not hide away during the holidays. Reach out to someone you are close with, volunteer, or see some friends. 
  • Exercise: This is difficult when you are feeling sad, but keeping with a good workout schedule can reduce stress and depression symptoms. A walk outside is just as beneficial as a gym session.
  • Financial: Providing holiday gifts for friends and family gives everyone a warm feeling, but when you don’t have the money to buy everyone gifts, then try creating homemade gifts such as a decorated affirmation jar, homemade ornaments, framed photos from trips, homemade cookies or even time to talk. Your friendship is a gift and valuable.
  • Say “No:” Social life is busy during the holidays and can lead to guilt for not attending events. Know your limits and say no if you are busy or do not have time to help with a project. 
  • Make time for yourself: This is one of the most important times to destress, read a book, take a bath, or get a massage. Even 10 minutes a day doing something for you will help combat holiday blues. 
  • Don’t set the bar too high: Get excited, make plans, and practice traditions. While doing that, understand that things change and focus on enjoying each day and spending time with your loved ones.  

If you deal with depression during the end of the year, make an appointment with one of our providers at 602-230-7373. We offer quality care within 72 hours and can provide you with the tools you need to beat the holiday blues.