Holiday Depression—Identifying the signs and finding support

The holiday season can be a time of high stress and anxiety for everyone, but for some people, it can feel like it is too much to handle. Depression during the winter, whether it is seasonal or major, can feel debilitating. However, if you try to follow some helpful tips, you can potentially minimize the amount of holiday stress.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in appetite
  • Persistent aches and pains
  • Feeling sad or anxious

Healthy Tips to Prevent Holiday Blues

  1. Acknowledge your emotions: Expressing your feelings is not a bad thing, and it can potentially help you identify the source of your sadness. Don’t try to force yourself to be happy during the holidays if it’s not genuine. It is okay to feel down every once in a while, but make sure you reach out to someone close to you if it becomes worse.
  1. Get support: You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about voicing your feelings and seeking support from someone you trust. If you are feeling sad or alone, reach out to your community, friend group, and family. This also includes seeking professional help if you need it.
  1. Plan ahead: Sticking to a routine and putting things into a schedule may help minimize the stress during the holidays. If you know a family party is coming up, this will give you the time to plan and prevent last-minute worries. If something does occur last minute, don’t be afraid to say ‘no.’
  1. Learn to recognize holiday triggers: Everyone has a different set of triggers that can cause feelings of high anxiety and stress. If you can identify your own holiday triggers before they occur, such as social events, financial pressures, or personal demands, you can then take preventive steps to curb those unwanted feelings.