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Coping with holiday depression

You or someone you care about may be out of sorts right now. During this time of year, people should be happy and festive, and yet this time of year can be difficult for so many reasons. It is important for us all to recognize that the holidays can stir emotions in people that otherwise would lie dormant other months of the year.

If you or a loved one seems to be unusually sad or quick to anger right now, consider what pressures or emotions might be at the forefront of their thoughts. Some of the top reasons people become depressed during the holidays are:

  • Finances are tight and therefore could limit gift-giving making people embarrassed
  • Missing a loved one that has passed away or no longer in his or her life
  • Feeling like a failure for not achieving or attaining his or her goals this past year
  • Self-esteem issues around feeling overweight or unattractive as social gatherings approach
  • Fear of not being remembered with cards, gifts or invitations to events
  • Overwhelmed with the amount of stuff to do, places to go and people to please


What to do

If you are feeling sad and blue right now, you need to know everything will be okay and you are not alone as this is a difficult time for many. It is also okay to take time to get in touch with what is bringing you down.One suggestion for effectively coping with depression is to write out your feelings and emotions in a journal. According to Livestrong.com, journaling provides the opportunity to share the more harsh emotions (like rage, anger and extreme sadness), instead of internalizing them where they can do more harm than good.

After you get it all out in your journal, you should then write down all the positive and happy things you have to be grateful for in your life. Take the time to reflect on all that is good and right in your world and allow the warm and happy thoughts to grow and overshadow the sadness you were feeling. Each time you begin to feel sad, frustrated or fall into the negative self-talk, stop and focus your attention on the positive and happy list.

If you are seeing signs of sadness or depression in others, be a little more patient right now. Your compassion may be what he or she needs more than anything you can say or do. The biggest gift you may be able to give that person right now is the gift of love and understanding.

Every one of us has highs and lows in life. It is especially difficult to experience a low during the time of year when everyone is expected to be brimming with joy, but you can turn this around and make this a happy holiday season. Be patient with yourself, give yourself positive self-talk, be grateful for what you have and be aware of the gift of kindness from others.

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