As the holiday season starts to pick up and the weather gets colder, many people become weighed down by symptoms of depression. Some are missing loved ones or worried about interacting with difficult family members. Busy schedules, financial obligations and lack of sunshine add increased levels of stress. Finding time to juggle everything can be overwhelming, and often we sacrifice taking care of ourselves and finding ways to unwind. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make holiday depression and stress more manageable.
A key component to a successful holiday season is planning, especially if you are battling holiday depression symptoms like fatigue.
- Make a realistic schedule that includes only the items that matter most.
- Take a close look at your list and cut out things that are unnecessary or interfering with your top priority items.
- Plan and schedule your breaks. Remember that resting and managing stress are just as important as pies and parties. Put downtime into your schedule and make sure it doesn’t get bumped by something less important.
- Create a budget for all your holiday expenses and make sure you are not stretching your finances beyond preset limits.
Sunlight and Exercise
During winter months the cold often keeps us indoors even during the day, and our busy schedules make it harder to find time to work out. Sunlight and exercise are natural fighters against depression, so try to squeeze in a short walk each day or invest in a natural-light lamp that simulates sunlight.
Food is Fuel
Pies, cobbler, and Christmas candy are all great to indulge in around the holidays, but remember to limit your treats. Overindulgence often leads to more stress and guilt, and foods high in sugar which can actually exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is also important to continue to eat healthy foods whenever possible so that your body is still getting essential nutrients.
Serve Someone Else
One of the most effective ways to ease holiday depression is to do something nice for someone else. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. Just look around for ways to serve the people in your life, or get a group together for a larger project.
Ask for Help
It’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to ask for help when things get overwhelming—whether that means dividing assignments, reaching out to a friend, or seeking help from a mental healthcare professional. Places like Chicago Lakeshore Hospital have programs and departments designated to helping people who are fighting depression, including dual diagnosis treatments for depression and drug or alcohol addiction. Find out more about The Chicago Lakeshore Difference and dual diagnosis treatments by clicking here.
If you are struggling with holiday depression, make your health a priority. Chicago Lakeshore Hospital has programs for adults, children, teens, and individuals in the LGBTQ community, as well as outpatient and medical detox treatments. For more information about our mental health programs, click here.
Contact us at The Chicago Lakeshore Hospital with any questions or to set up an appointment.