Chase Away the Holiday Blues

With the holidays fast approaching, depression andloneliness is on the rise. It’s a normal feeling to feel around the holidayseason, especially if you don’t have family or they’re far away. For those whosuffer with depression on a daily basis, the holiday season can be even moredifficult to manage.

The holiday season also comes with increased levels of stress. There are more people in the stores, on the roads, and everywhere you go. Depending on what kind of work you do, this may be busy season for you and you may be working more hours than usual.

There are extra things that need to be done. Shopping for gifts, wrapping them, decorating, sending out cards, and holiday baking all top the list of extra tasks during the holiday season.

You may be considering taking some time off over the holidays, yet this can mean extra work before and after your time off.

When you add up the extra work, the chaos of public places, the extra tasks, and the extra costs involved with the holiday season,your stress can be through the roof.  Thisstress, if not managed, can lead to depression.

If you already deal with depression or the holidays get you down, this added depression can feel like a weight on your shoulders, keeping you from being able to get anything done.

Depression doesn’t just cause you to feel sad or lonely, it can affect all aspects of your life. It can cause you to lose your appetite, have trouble sleeping, not have any energy, and it can cause you to lose interest in your work, hobbies, or relationships.

If you’ve never dealt with depression before, you may overlook the symptoms because:

  • You may think you have a good reason for feeling down
  • You may assume that depression is just part of dealing with stress
  • You may be isolated, without friends and family to help you notice the signs
  • You may not realize that some of your physical aches and pains can be caused by depression
  • You may be reluctant to talk to anyone about how you’re feeling or ask for help

Noticing the signs and symptoms of depression can help you recognize it early and seek help before it takes over your life. Just because you feel it’s normal to feel down, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be dealt with. Especially if it lasts more than a couple of days. Be aware of the signs and notice when they’re happening to you.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

  • Loss of interest in hobbies or spending time with friends
  • Unexplained aches and pains or worse pain than usual
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of motivation to do anything
  • Sleep issues – difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, oversleeping, needing a nap to get through the day
  • Lack of energy
  • Slow movements or reaction times
  • Fixation on death and/or thoughts of suicide
  • Memory problems
  • Neglecting your hygiene and personal care
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Irritability

It’s important to be aware of these signs and symptoms in yourself so that you can seek help sooner rather than later. The sooner you can connect with a professional to help you sort out what you’re feeling and how to deal with it, the sooner you’ll be feeling more like yourself again. Letting your depression go untreated will only make it worse and harder to recover from.

Whether you’re trying to overcome depression or you think you may be susceptible to it and want to avoid it, there are several things you can do to deal with it.

Dealing with Holiday Depression

Get Social

Social interaction is important to warding off depression or dealing with it. Spend time with friends and family. If you don’t have anyone nearby to spend time with, join a group with weekly activities, go on a group outing, go to concerts or the theater. There are a variety of social groups for all interests. Whether you enjoy good wine and food, love reading a good book, or want to get outside and spend time in nature, you can find a group with activities that fit your interests.

An active social life doesn’t just reduce depression, it also improves your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. It can ward off disease, ease physical pain, and keep your spirits lifted.

Stay Active

Take up a hobby like knitting, gardening, baking, writing, dancing, or try a new sport. Get involved in group activities like a yoga or cooking class. Volunteer your time with your favorite charity. Check your local community center for activities and classes that may interest you.

Instead of spending your evenings watching TV or staring at the computer, get up and get out of the house. Or, do something at home that still allows you to keep your body and mind active.

Treat Medical Conditions

Whether you’re having sleep issues or physical pain, any kind of medical problem can lead to depression. Or make it worse. Especially if you’re losing restorative sleep. See a doctor and get help for pain management and sleep.

Not getting enough sleep can not only cause depression, it can lead to a variety of other health issues. Stick to a regular sleep schedule of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Create a sleep “ritual” that signals your brain it’s time to go to sleep. Turn off the TV and read a book to help your mind unwind from the day.

Physical pain can also lead to depression. When you’rein pain, you don’t feel like doing anything or going anywhere. And staying at home, by yourself, not feeling well, is a sure recipe for depression. Talk to your doctor about the options to get you moving again.

Eat Well

Have you ever heard the expression “you are what you eat?” Well, it’s true. What you eat feeds your brain so feed it well. Junk food and sugar cause your brain to feel tired and run-down. While healthy food gives you energy, lifts your mood, and helps you focus. Healthy foods can also ward off brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet.

If you’re not sure how to prepare healthy meals, take it up as your new hobby. Take a cooking class or watch YouTube videos. Get some new cookbooks and search online for healthy recipes, Pinterest is a great resource for that. Or try a food delivery service that delivers all the ingredients for healthy meal preparation right to your front door.


Simple, easy-to-do exercises like walking, chair yoga, and tai chi help to keep your body feeling well even if you’re not able to be very mobile due to pain. They help keep your muscles stretched, help with aches and pains, improve circulation, improve sleep, and increase energy levels. A 30-minute class a few times a week will keep you feeling well, both physically and mentally.

A group class will also help keep you socially active, making friends and spending time with other people. Check your local community center or yoga studio for senior classes.

If you can’t get to a class, there are a variety of videos and online classes that will help you achieve the same results.

If you’re feeling up to it, try an activity that will get your heart racing and your blood flowing like running, weight lifting, horseback riding, or a more difficult yoga class.

Get on Schedule

Creating routines in your life can help you regain the control in your life that depression has taken away. Sticking to a regular schedule can make you feel like your back in control and it can lift your mood. In addition to getting up and going to bed at the same time, build regular exercise, meal time, work time, and time with friends or working on hobbies into your schedule. Make an appointment with yourself. Yes, put it on your calendar and make it happen.

Creating Goals

Setting new goals that involve work, personal life, or health can give you something to feel good about and work towards. What new things do you want to try? What do you wish you had more of in your life and how can you make that happen? Create small, attainable goals for several areas of your life. Then, as you reach them, create bigger or different goals so that you’re always working towards a better, happier you.

The best ways to deal with holiday depression are to stay active, spend quality time with other people, eat well, get plenty of sleep, and generally take care of your overall health. Visit your doctor to help you deal with any physical ailments that may be keeping you from staying active.

If you feel like you’re dealing with depression and you’ve tried these tips, it may be time to seek professional help for your symptoms.

Ready to work on you in the new year.  Call for a FREE exploratory session today!  970-682-4405.  Want to receive daily inspirational quotes get signed up for them at www.witherswhisper.com.  Until then listen to the whisper…