Handle holiday depression? Crawling into bed the week before Thanksgiving, and resurfacing sometime in February, isn’t the answer? It’s certainly what I prefer doing. I’m sure many people living with depression can relate. However, it’s not an option for most of us. Instead, I’ve learned a few ways to lessen the blow of depression over the holidays.
Helpful tips to handle holiday depression
Let shit go
Yes, I cuss. A lot. You’ll get used to it, if you haven’t already. It’s important to let shit go. I used to spend hours on the whole “holiday card” nonsense.
- taking the perfect picture of the kids in cute outfits
- picking, designing and ordering, the perfect holiday card
- going through the address list to make sure it was up-to-date
- going out to buy stamps at the post office (and having to interact with people, yuck)
- hand-addressing the envelopes, because the printer never printed the mailing labels correctly
- keeping track of who sent cards to me, so I knew who to send to each year
- wanting to scratch my eyes out with a fork, because I despised the entire process, and it brought me no holiday cheer at all
- having to seal the envelopes (just shoot me)
Instead of doing this each year, I let it go. No more. Told everyone I’m no longer sending cards out, and there’s no need to send cards to me. I never know what to do with them when I get them, and they just end up in the recycle bin five seconds after opening the envelope. Save your time, along with your money.
Say no to commitments
If you want to skip parties, and celebrations, just say no to commitments. There’s no law stating you must attend every holiday function you’re invited to. Attending these things takes a lot of energy. At least, it does for me. I have to “be on,” and smile, laugh, and carry on conversations. It’s exhausting to put on this show for other people, whilst your drowning inside. Seriously. If people want to spend time with you around the holidays, ask them for more intimate, one-on-one get togethers. Or, ask them to wait until after the holidays.
Avoid family drama
Do not allow yourself to get sucked into family drama. Say no to listening to anything that starts with “you won’t believe what he/she did…” It’s filled with drama, and it’s not worth your mental health. Just say no. Make sure not to allow anyone to drag you into a family argument, either. Let everyone handle their own business. It’s not worth your health, so let it go. Avoid all of it at all costs.
Get outside in the sunshine
If you’re living someplace like New York, which is where I live, it gets cold. I know. I get it. You still need to soak up the sunshine. Obviously, wear your sunscreen, especially on your face. However, still take the time each day to step outside, stand in the sunshine. It helps. Vitamin D, it’s a necessary for your health. No joke. It’s not just helpful for those of us living with depression, either. It’s beneficial for fighting off the flu, and other health issues.
Definitely move your body
I’m last person to say “let’s go to the gym to workout.” Trust me. However, I’m the first person to say move your body every day in some way. Personally, I walk. One of my side gigs is walking dogs, so I walk every day. It improves my outlook on the day. Plus, I walk outside, which means…. that’s right, I’m getting my Vitamin D sunshine vitamin! However, the endorphins from the brisk pace whilst dog walking, makes me smile more.
Crank up the music you like, not just the holiday songs you’re supposed to love, but secretly hate
Again, I have said this before: music is life. It saves me most days. If I don’t listen to music every day, I can feel the difference in my mental state. Music soothes the savage beast in me. What can I say, listening to George Michael’s Freedom, pumps life into me. Basically anything from any of his albums pumps life into me. Even way back from his Wham! days. Yikes. Don’t hold that against me.
Stay in bed if you need to
You know what? If you need to stay in bed for an entire day, listening to music, or watching movies… DO IT. Don’t feel guilty about it. Allow no one to tell you how to handle your life with depression. Tell people you’re busy, and give no explanations. As long as you don’t wallow in depression, and do harmful things to yourself, or others, people need to allow you the freedom to handle your business!
If you feel the need to spend a week in bed, that’s cause for alarm and talking to a professional is necessary. However, one day of chilling out during the holidays, is sometimes exactly what I need to face the upcoming holiday class party at my son’s school. And it’s okay.