There is such a thing as holiday depression, and it affects many people across the globe. Although the holiday season is associated with joyful memories, gifts, and spending time with your loved ones, it is not exactly merry for many. And it is perfectly normal to feel unhappy.
People feel unhappy during the holidays for different reasons, from busy work schedules and deadlines to the death of a loved one or simply a lack of sunlight. These conditions can lead to depression, anxiety, and even physical illness.
A study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness revealed that a significant percentage of people living with a mental illness reported feeling worse during the holiday season.
However, there are different ways to prepare yourself for the holiday season by eliminating things that trigger a poor mental state. The following are practical ways to maintain quality mental health during this holiday season.
It is normal to feel sad sometimes
If you have recently lost someone close to you or you can't be with your family for one reason or the other, it is okay to feel grief and sadness. It is okay to cry or express your feelings. Try not to pretend to be happy because it's the holidays. By recognizing these feelings, you will deal with them adequately.
Talk to someone
You may think that you are better off dealing with feelings of sadness alone, but you are better off speaking to someone. If you feel lonely, try to find someone to lend a listening ear. You can also look for a community, whether religious or social or even an event. Some communities have online or virtual resources that can offer companionship and support.
If you have family or friends that you can call, reach out to them and have conversations, as they may make you feel better. Luckily, we live in a world where you can Facetime your friends and family if you are not spending the holiday with them.
If you do not have someone to talk to, you should volunteer your time to help others. It is a fantastic way to lift your spirits by having interesting conversations and meeting new people.
Have a budget
Having a budget for the holiday season can help you reduce your stress levels. A budget allows you to allocate your financial resources properly and prevents overspending. Decide how much you want to spend on gifts, shopping and food. Do not try to hide your feelings by buying unnecessary things with the hopes that they may make you feel better because they probably won't.
Set realistic expectations
It is okay to look forward to a better holiday than the previous one, but the truth is that they don't have to be. Life changes, and so do people and traditions. Some holidays may be perfect because your family are in town. But if they can't make it to this one, that should not be a reason why it can't be great. Situations like this create new opportunities to share the holidays, such as celebrating Christmas via video calling. Your plans may change at a moment's notice, but you can still find ways to celebrate.
Keep healthy habits
If you feel lonely or you are dealing with some issues this holiday season, try to maintain healthy habits to protect your mental health from getting worse.
On the other hand, some people see the holidays as a time for indulgence in harmful habits such as overeating, excessive drinking, and partying all night. Here are a few healthy habits to try during the holiday season.
- Eat healthily
- Get enough sleep
- Stay hydrated
- Exercise regularly
- Eat moderately
The goal is to manage your mental health and ensure that you are at your best this holiday. Keep in mind that many things are beyond your control, and focus on the things you can control and make the most out of them.