The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy, celebration, and gratitude. But for some people, it can also be a time of stress, sadness, and loneliness. Depression can affect anyone at any time of the year, but it can be especially challenging during the holidays. Here are some tips on how to cope with depression during the holiday season.

The holidays can be best of times and the worst of times, especially when you perceive that everyone around you is happy, and you believe you should be as well.


– R. Daniel Schonbuch, Founder,

Depression is more than just feeling sad or blue. It is a serious mental health condition that can interfere with your daily functioning and quality of life. Some of the common signs of depression include:

  • Persistent low mood or loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Changes in appetite, weight, sleep, or energy level.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or attempts to harm yourself.

If you experience any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should seek professional help. Depression is treatable and you do not have to suffer alone.s

Seek professional help

There are effective treatments for depression, such as medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Your doctor or therapist can help you find the best option for you. They can also rule out any medical conditions that may be causing or worsening your depression, such as thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances.

Reach out to others

One of the risk factors for depression is social isolation. The holiday season can make you feel more isolated if you do not have a supportive network of family or friends, or if you are separated from your loved ones by distance, death, or conflict. However, you do not have to be alone. You can reach out to others who may be going through similar struggles, such as:

  • Joining a support group, either online or in person, where you can share your feelings and experiences with others who understand.
  • Volunteering for a cause that you care about, such as a soup kitchen, a shelter, or a charity. This can help you feel more connected, useful, and appreciated.
  • Seeking spiritual guidance, if you are religious or spiritual, from a clergy member, a counselor, or a community of faith. They can offer you comfort, hope, and meaning.
  • Asking for help, if you need it, from your family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers. They may not know what you are going through unless you tell them. They may be able to offer you practical or emotional support, such as helping you with chores, inviting you to social events, or listening to you vent.

Take care of yourself

Depression can make you neglect your physical and emotional well-being. But taking care of yourself can help you cope better and feel better. Some of the ways you can take care of yourself include:

  • Following a healthy diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and processed foods, as they can worsen your mood and energy.
  • Getting enough sleep, ideally seven to nine hours per night. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, avoid naps, and limit your exposure to screens before bed.
  • Exercising regularly, at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Physical activity can boost your mood, energy, and self-esteem. It can also reduce stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or massage. These can help you calm your mind, body, and emotions, and reduce the negative effects of stress.
  • Engaging in enjoyable activities, such as hobbies, games, music, art, or reading. These can help you express yourself, distract yourself from negative thoughts, and increase your happiness and satisfaction.

Adjust your expectations

The holiday season can come with a lot of pressure and expectations, such as buying gifts, hosting parties, cooking meals, or traveling. These can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you are depressed. You may also compare yourself to others, or to your idealized image of how the holidays should be, and feel inadequate or disappointed. To avoid this, you can:

  • Set realistic and manageable goals, such as making a budget, planning ahead, delegating tasks, or simplifying traditions. Do not try to do everything yourself, or to please everyone else. Focus on what is most important and meaningful to you.
  • Be flexible and adaptable, such as being open to change, compromise, or improvisation. Do not let minor setbacks or inconveniences ruin your mood or your plans. Remember that things do not have to be perfect to be enjoyable.
  • Be compassionate and forgiving, both to yourself and to others. Do not be too hard on yourself, or blame yourself for things that are out of your control. Do not hold grudges, or judge others for their choices or behaviors. Try to see the best in yourself and in others, and appreciate what you have.

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