Let’s face it. Drinking, drug abuse, anxiety, and depression soar over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s. The holidays can be stressful under normal circumstances. With the 2020 triple pandemic (COVID-19, social/racial injustice and mental health), and election fatigue, the risk for holiday blues is even higher. The good news is that during this time of year, the holiday blues are often more appropriately described as situational depression, and can be significantly reduced by following these tips:
Avoid Emotional Drains
By simply choosing more positive friends, a positive environment, and uplifting activities, depression can be reduced. Foregoing the following seven energy drains can also have immediate, positive results on our lives!
- Skip the alcohol – alcohol can exacerbate any feelings of situational depression while drinking, even the day after. Many use alcohol to numb the pain or sorrow of depression, when drinking, in fact, makes it worse. How about suggesting an alcohol-free holiday celebration, or better yet, an alcohol-free season?
- Pass on the sugar – eating too many cookies and cakes can create feelings of lethargy, like an emotional crash. These crashes can exacerbate feelings of depression.
- Stay as present as possible – stay in the moment to keep peace of mind. If opportunities arise to talk to family members about challenges, remember to talk about potential solutions instead of focusing on problems alone.
- Avoid overspending – the rush of giving extravagant gifts can backfire with depression when the bills arrive after the holidays.
- Reframe resentments – holding resentments is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. If you are going to invite Uncle Bob to a holiday dinner and there was tension last year, examine what can be done before family gatherings to reduce tension. Clearing emotional space will make for a more pleasant time with family members.
- Leave self-comparisons in the past – looking at another’s life and making comparisons can result in unnecessary bitterness, depression, and resentments.
- Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable – acknowledge sadness, hurt, and grief. Prepare to make changes in the new year. Acknowledging feelings starts the healing process. Holding them in can create illness, making anxiety and depression worse.
If you, a family member, or a friend are struggling with addiction and/or mental health issues, Recovery Ways wants to help. We are dually licensed to treat mental health disorders and addiction. Don’t delay seeking treatment because of the holidays. Our admissions coordinators can recommend a plan of action, suggest an interventionist, or speak with your loved one. For more information, please call us at (888) 988-5217.