Horizon Blog

Tips to Prevent Holiday Stress And Depression

December 6th, 2016

Lady with holiday stressIt’s the holiday season, and if that fact fills you with more dread than joy, you are not alone! Many people feel stressed, depressed, and anxious at this time of the year. Why?

  • These next several weeks can be demanding. Between parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, on top of regular activities, it’s easy to feel tired just thinking about it all.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, tends to kick in right about now.
  • Excessive drinking and overeating can cause insomnia or poor sleep, which adds to an overall sense of not feeling healthy and energetic.

To top it off, there’s that pressure that so many of us feel – to see everyone and do everything, and to provide ourselves and our families with the picture-perfect Hallmark or Lifetime Movie holiday celebrations. It’s no wonder so many people feel depressed and stressed out! But here are some tips to help you reduce that stress — and maybe even find some holiday joy:

  1. Don’t get hung up on what the holidays are supposed to be like and how you’re supposed to feel.
  2. If your usual holiday routines are giving you dread, do something different. Eat a holiday meal at a restaurant. Skip gifts and instead donate the money to a charity in the recipient’s name.
  3. Prioritize, and cut the bottom few things from your list. If you don’t get the lights on the roof this year or dig out the special holiday plates from the attic, that’s okay. Give yourself a break!
  4. Avoid family problems and situations that trigger your holiday stress. If you don’t want to spend time with your annoying uncle, skip his New Year’s party or just stop in for a quick hello. Instead of putting up with the sofa bed at your in-laws’ house, check into a nearby hotel. Take control.
  5. Ask people for specific help: ask your spouse to get out the decorations. Ask your brother to help you cook, or even host the holiday dinner. Turn a shopping trip into a girls’ day out with some friends.
  6. Don’t overbook your schedule. Holiday celebrations can go on for weeks, so you’ll need to think about how many you can realistically fit in, and which ones you really want to attend.
  7. Stick to a budget, so you’re not adding to your stress with money worries.

Finally, if you’re already seeing a counselor or therapist, don’t skip your appointments. Despite your best efforts, you may feel wretched, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Let them help you have a healthy, happier holiday season.  And if you’re feeling like you need to talk to someone, reach out to Horizon today.  We can help.

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