Tips to Cope with Depression During the Holidays

Are you experiencing depression during this holiday season?

We often have the expectations that the holiday season such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah is supposed to be a perfect magical time surrounded by your loved ones. If you are experiencing depression, it can be difficult to enjoy the season. You may be experiencing low motivation, low self-esteem, disinterest, or apathy in addition to a depressed mood. Here are some useful tips that can help you get through this season.

What to Do:

1. Identify the Source and your Triggers

Have you explored what the source of your depression is? It can be helpful to look back at life events, circumstances, and triggers that are associated with your depressed mood. Exploring the root cause can help you better understand what actions to take to better cope. If you have no idea what your depression is connected to, writing out your life story from the beginning to your current life (present), can help you figure it out. Make a note of potential sources of depression, but also note the joyful stages of your life. How have those life events made you feel?

2. Don't Brush it Off

You may think that everyone is enjoying and getting ready for the holidays, but the reality is that you are not the only one experiencing depression. Avoiding your feelings can elongate the state of depression or can intensify the symptoms. Make a mental note or journal about how the source of your depression, life events, or current circumstances make you feel.

3. Analyze your Depression

What do you do when you experience loneliness, sadness, or depression? And just as important, what don’t you do when you are feeling down? Make a note and make observations about what you do and not do when you are depressed. Do you fall in a vicious cycle like the following one?

Vicious Cycle

1. Triggers, memories of past painful events, thoughts about your life not being the life you want, etc.

2. A depressed mood or feelings of loneliness, insecurity, and not feeling enough.

3. Inactivity, isolation, substance use, or self-destructive behavior.

4. More Depression

Let’s highlight number three (3.) part of the vicious cycle (inactivity, isolation, substance use, or self-destructive behavior). To cope with depression, it is important to analyze what you do during the depression or other similar feelings. Do you isolate from others, do you engage in destructive behaviors, or do you do nothing? Most of the time isolation, inactivity, substance use, and self-destructive behaviors will cause a depressed mood to intensify. Although it is difficult to do during a depressive state, it is helpful to find an activity that ends the vicious cycle. Do you need a worksheet to analyze your vicious cycle click here.

4. Make an Action Plan

Ok finally, Let's make an action plan. Plan out how to cope with depression and how to deal with the depressed mood when it is at its peak. A few suggestions to include in your action plan are the following:

1. Follow a simple morning routine, such as going for a walk, or a quick workout

2. Honor your Feelings

3. Schedule an activity at the time that you are more prone to sadness

4.Practice self-compassion

5. Find a positive meaning or the silver lining to your past adverse experiences

6. Call your local doctor/psychiatrist

7. Call your local psychotherapist

8. Find a self-help book for depression

If you have attempted to cope with depression on your own but need more support, don't hesitate to call me to start psychotherapy for depression.