Fighting depression during the holiday season

The festive season can be depressing. Photo by Adamophoto/Freerange Stock.
The festive season can be depressing. Photo by Adamophoto/Freerange Stock.
It’s called the festive season, and you go around saying things like “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” to each other. But the truth is, the holidays can be downright depressing, even if you’re not clinically depressed. And to make matters worse, you’re expected to plaster a smile on your face for days at a time and act cheerful. No one wants to spend Christmas and New Year’s with Debbie Downer.

I’ve tried to be open about my mental health struggles because I believe I can help people by putting myself out there.

Over the years, I’ve figured out that there are a few things I can do to make the holidays a little more bearable when I’m feeling down. They don’t come with any guarantees, unfortunately, but I’d like to share them with you in the hopes that they might work for you.

  • Put some music on. Not Christmas music, unless you have a genuine passion for it. But something that makes you smile. 80s pop and glam metal is my usual choice because it’s so gloriously over-the-top. Use headphones if the rest of your house won’t apppreciate it.
  • Take some time out for yourself. This can be difficult, especially if you have to spend time with multiple sets of families over Christmas. But sometimes a few minutes alone in the bathroom can help you face the world again.
  • Keep a journal. I actually think everyone could benefit from doing this all year round, but if you’re likely to feel depressed these holidays, grab a notebook and record everything you’re thinking and feeling. It doesn’t have to make sense; it’s just for you, and you might find that writing it all down helps you come to terms with it.
  • Do something creative or artistic. This year, I wrote a therapeutic three-chord song on my guitar called My Suicide Note Will Ruin You Like You Ruined Me; and in the tradition of one of my favourite bands, The Gaslight Anthem, the title does not appear in the song at all. (Also, in the tradition of most of my songs, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will ever hear it, but that’s okay because I didn’t write it for anyone else but me.) However, if crocheting or adult colouring books are more your thing, try to indulge in that over the holidays.

Do you have any tips for getting through the festive season?

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