Have you ever started your day off on a good note and before you knew it there was this dark cloud looming over you. For a person who suffers from depression this can occur daily, weekly, monthly or even seasonally. As we approach the holiday season and most people are running around shopping and planning for the festivities there are others who can’t wait for the festivities to be over due to anxiety or depression.
The holiday season is one of those seasons that can be a trigger for those dealing with depression. As families are coming together it can serve as a source for anxiety and depression. The constant barrage of happy people in commercials and stores, along with the overly polite and joyous co-workers can serve as a catalyst which causes individuals to reevaluate their relationships and life. For a person who is unhappy with their current or past relationships or current station in life this reevaluation in the midst of all these happy people can lead to depression. The pressure to buy bigger and better gifts for everyone on your holiday list can lead to anxiety for those who may not have the financial means to meet everyone’s expectations.
The natural inclination when you are feeling depressed is to isolate yourself. This is also the most dangerous thing a person dealing with depression can do, especially during the holiday season. If you are struggling with depression over the holiday season there are a few things that you can do to help you not only survive this season but to also find some enjoyment over the next couple of months.
- Get outside, on those days when it is sunny even if it is a little brisk get out and take in some sunshine. Exposure to light can significantly improve your mood.
- Exercise, whether you are doing yoga or walking it is important to get at least 15 minutes of exercise a day. It will give you a positive mood and reduce depression as your body releases endorphins.
- Don’t overeat or overdrink. Many tend to do both during the holidays but the after effects of both can lead to feelings of lethargy and regret which can cause you to withdraw from activities.
- Talk to someone about how you are feeling. Whether it is one close friend, a counselor, or a support group, make an intentional effort to get the emotional support you need during this season. REMEMBER people who don’t know what you are going through can’t help you.
- Set realistic expectations for yourself during this holiday season. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s. If you don’t have the finances to buy all your nieces and nephews Air Jordan’s but you are crafty bake them some homemade cookies, or not.
- Enjoy time with family and friends. Take advantage of the time to reconnect or simply hang out. This season practice being thankful for the people you do have in your life rather than focusing on what you don’t have. You may be surprised to learn that most people simply want to spend time during the holidays.
Knowing the signs of depression is key in order to get help for yourself or for a loved one. One of the most disheartening things I have heard from others suffering from depression is that those closest to them didn’t know that they were suffering from depression. It is not always easy to share with others when you are feeling depressed and to get them to truly understand when it is more than having a low day. Here are signs to watch for to determine if you or a loved one may be suffering from depression. Depressed mood, decreased interest or pleasure, significant weight change, change in sleep pattern, fatigue, loss of mental focus, feelings of worthlessness, and/or agitation/restlessness. If you or your loved one is suffering from five or more of these signs or is experiencing thoughts of harming themselves or others contact a medical professional immediately.
Family members need to know how to identify the signs and be available to support their loved ones. I have been blessed to have a supportive family who know the signs of depression and recognize my triggers as well. It is because of the support of my family that I have been able to learn to manage my depression and live a happy and productive life. #DepressionIsREAL but it is manageable and you can not only survive with it but you can thrive.
Learn about my journey through a life of depression in my latest book “The Journey From Rejection to Significance” available on Amazon.com.