There is such a mixture of feelings, including depression, when it comes to the holiday season. On one hand, you have all of the holiday spirit and joy. The feelings you get when you give and relieve presents or find the perfect gift for someone. Personally, I can’t help but sing along whenever Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer comes on and it brings me straight back to my childhood and singing Christmas carols with Girl Scouts at the mall. But, there are the other feelings that can come up. Dread about seeing long lost family members or worry about where to get the money for those perfect Christmas presents. What feelings are coming up for you this year?
A recommendation for dealing with your emotions is to manage expectations. You simple cannot doing everything. There tend to be a lot of demands on people’s time, money and energy during this time. Make a realistic plan for your resources. You might not be able to do everything you want and that’s okay. Trying to meet your expectations and everyone else’s can lead to burn out and depression. Setting boundaries and establishing realistic expectations will be helpful. What unrealistic expectations are you placing on yourself?
Another way to deal with holiday blues is to immerse yourself in the holidays, such as going to your work Christmas party and the Ugly Sweater party (as long as you mind the suggestion above). If you feel like isolating, you have to push yourself to do the opposite. Meet up a friend at a local Starbucks for a holiday themed drink. Just get out there and have some fun. Increasing pleasurable activities is a way to improve depression. Isolating, withdrawing and ignoring isn’t going to make your feelings go away. What holiday activity do you want to do before the season is up?
If your depression is worsening, making a last minute appointment with your therapist might be the type of support you need at this time. If your therapist’s office is closed, ask about the possibility for a phone session so you have the opportunity to check in, if needed.
Happy Holidays to everyone and I look forward to connected with my readers through the upcoming year with new and exciting blog posts.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP , Mental Health Counselor of the Year by the Florida Mental Health Counseling Association, decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Amanda has been a therapist for ten years and has a private practice in Wellington, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and substance abuse in teenagers and young adults. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here.