Depression/The Blues by Joana Roja under Creative Commons on flickr.
The holiday season is generally a time to rejoice, be thankful and count the many blessings, large and small, that we have. For many people who suffer from depression, however, the joyful season can actually magnify feelings of emptiness and decreased self-worth.
For people who may be experiencing depression, I would like to share some suggestions.
Do the best you can. (perfection is not attainable)
Give yourself the gift of positive self talk (don’t repeat negative message from the past that are not true)
Truly believe in yourself, including your goodness and self-worth
Accept that life is not perfect. Injustices and suffering occur. It is normal at times to feel angry and to grieve. Get help on how to manage these feelings.
The CDC reports a 6.6% rate of depression among adults. Co-existing conditions that can exacerbate depression include: obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma [2,3], arthritis, and cancer ) and among those with unhealthy behaviors (e.g., smoking, physical inactivity, and binge drinking )
On the last note in the paragraph above, binge drinking will not drown any sorrows. All of the sorrows will still be present, with a hangover to boot. Alcohol is a depressant. Speaking from experience I would rather be sad and sober and dealing with the transient sadness, than sick and ashamed because of uncontrolled drinking.
That said, Psychology Today has ten suggestions:
1. Keep your expectations balanced.
2. Don’t try to do too much.
3. Don’t isolate.
4. Don’t overspend.
5. It’s appropriate to mourn if you’re separated from or have lost loved ones.
6. Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days and bad weather.
7. Watch your diet and remember to exercise.
8. Be aware of the Post Holiday Syndrome.
9. Plan ahead.
10. Learn forgiveness and acceptance.
If you tend toward a baseline of depression (like I do), The Psychology Today article elaborates on the ten suggestions; click on the link if you are interested in learning more. If you are a person who has experienced tragedy or loss during the holiday season, please reach out to someone. I find that if the ‘someone’ is anonymous, it is easier for me to open up. The bottom line is, no one is alone.
What works for me is to identify and be thankful for the many blessings that I do have, and then bundle up in some warm clothing and go for a peaceful walk in the woods. I also find music to be very helpful.
I would like to wish everyone a peaceful and gratifying holiday.
PS: When all else fails you can try some Sad, Sad Larry: