Depression: The Unwanted Present During the Holidays

11/14/2014

undefinedHave you ever received a gift during the holidays that you’d just love to return? Well, depression during the holidays isn’t a present that would be on anyone’s wish list. Unfortunately however, many people will suffer through a depression during what’s supposed to be the most joyous time of the year.

The holidays are difficult for various reasons even for those who aren’t depressed. Tis the season invites high expectations to feel certain ways and to do certain things and this can be hard, especially for the person with depression. And what’s even worse, loved ones might not understand why you can’t just “snap out of it.” This experience can make someone with depression feel lonely and isolated, leading to an exacerbation of his or her depression. It’s truly a vicious cycle.   

This time of the year comes with a lot of expectations, like decorating the home, shopping and wrapping, cooking and baking, cleaning, and attending holiday parties to name just a few. I bet your to-do list is a mile long. I know mine is! But for the person who’s depressed, facing these long lists of things to do feels like climbing Mt. Everest...it just seems impossible.

While you can’t return the unwanted gift of depression during the holidays, you can counter it by giving yourself something much better: compassion. I like to think of compassion when directed toward oneself as being loving and empathic. This idea of having compassion for oneself also applies for those who don’t suffer from depression because generally, the holidays are typically rated as some of the most stressful and tense times of the year. Finding ways to have compassion for yourself is crucial to surviving the ups-and-downs of the season. So, how do you shop for compassion? Here are few tips you might find helpful:  
Compassion is going to be what the doctor ordered this holiday season. It’s the gift that should be on everyone’s wish list because it will improve your mood and help you to feel better. The best part is that you don’t have to go to the doctor to get a prescription, pick it up at the pharmacy, or worry about refills. All you need to do is to keep the following in mind: 1. make things easier on yourself, 2. learn to say no, 3. reach out for support, 4. remember that you’re in control, 5. remember the loved one(s) you’ve lost in positive ways, and 6. take care of yourself. 7. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe through it all!    

Cheers to a more peaceful holiday season! 

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Jim On November 16, 2014 at 10:26 AM
What a great article!
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