The holiday season is here. No matter what you celebrate, it’s hard to avoid the sights, sounds, and festivities surrounding this time of year. For many, those things are fun and exciting. They give people something to look forward to and enjoy. 

For others, though, the holidays aren’t a time of celebration and joy. If you struggle with holiday-related depression, you might dread this time of year and find yourself waiting for it to end. 

Maybe you’re missing a loved one this time of year. Maybe you’re feeling hopeless about your financial situation, or this is your first year after a messy divorce. Whatever the case, holiday depression is very real and can feel overwhelming. 

But it doesn’t mean you have to drag yourself through the season feeling helpless and sad all of the time. Let’s cover a few healthy coping techniques for holiday depression. 

Set Boundaries

The holidays can get busy very quickly. Between family get-togethers, parties with friends, and events at work, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. When you’re dealing with depression on top of it, these endless events can take a toll on your well-being. 

Give yourself the grace to say “no” to certain things. Set boundaries this season. That doesn’t mean you should isolate yourself. Spending time with loved ones can actually help with depression. But, don’t feel obligated to agree to every event if you know it will do more harm than good. Give yourself time to relax and experience some peace. 

Practice Mindfulness

Depression often becomes worse when we dwell on what’s causing it. Often, those things happened in the past or end up being something you’re worried about in the future. Instead of letting your mind wander to those places, choose to stay in the moment as often as possible. 

photo of a woman standing in front of a Christmas treeOne of the best ways to do that is by practicing mindfulness. Make mindfulness and meditation a part of your daily routine. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and let go of thoughts that might be causing chaos in your mind. Mindfulness can help you slow down and feel more centered this time of year. 

Spend Time Outside

The weather outside might be “frightful” depending on where you live, but there’s a lot of beauty that comes with winter, too. Spending time outdoors, no matter the season, can help with depression. 

Studies have shown that nature is a wonderful healer. It can improve your mood, give you more energy, and reduce stress. Even if you just go outside for a few minutes each day to appreciate the snow or cooler temperatures, your mind and body will benefit. 

Practice Self-Care

If you want to go the extra mile when you’re outside, do something physical! Go for a winter hike, take up skiing, or put on your snow shoes. Exercise is a fantastic form of self-care that can improve feelings of happiness. 

It’s the season of giving, and that means giving back to yourself, too. In addition to staying physically active, prioritize sleep, eat healthy foods, and do other small things each day that are designed to promote your well-being. Incorporating self-care activities into your daily routine is a great way to manage depressive symptoms. 

Talk to Someone

Don’t be afraid to open up about your feelings this time of year. Your friends and family are there to help, and it’s important to have a support system. But, if you’re really struggling with depression, consider reaching out to us.

Depression counseling can help you uncover the root of your depression while helping you strategize ways to overcome it. It’s possible to treat and beat depression, but it’s not something you should tackle on your own – especially around the holidays.