It’s that time of year when everyone seems jolly and joyful, but what if you’re not? Dealing with depression is never fun, but it’s especially difficult during the holiday season.
Our family has first hand experience with the effects of holiday depression because several years ago one of our immediate family members committed suicide the third week of December. That Christmas was a blur of gray numbness. Although some healing has taken place over time, our family get togethers haven’t been the same since.
While there is no easy or instant fix for depression, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself:
Talk-One of the most challenging aspects of depression is the feeling of being all alone. Negative thinking patterns lead you to believe that no one understands and no one cares. This is rarely the case.
Try calling one friend or trusted family member and talking about how you’re feeling. Ask them to pray for you. If you have no friends or family with whom you feel safe talking, connect with a professional counselor through your church or find one recommended by someone you trust.
Journal-Take time to write what you’re thinking and feeling. Writing helps organize your thoughts and can also help you see where you are thinking “circularly” or running the same thoughts over and over through your mind. You can also look back on your writing later and see areas of your life you might need to address.
I like using colored pens and pencils when I journal because sometimes it ‘s easier to draw what I’m feeling rather than putting it into words.
You can also watch my How to Art Journal video here.
Move-The mental and emotional exhaustion that accompany depression can also cause physical weariness which means you just want to stay in bed or lay around on the couch all day. Taking a short walk every day can actually help energize you and enable you to change your mindset.
Plan-If you usually feel depressed during the holidays, you may want to avoid shopping malls and other typical holiday activities. This can be a good strategy, but make sure to plan other fun outings for yourself.
Having something to look forward to can be a great depression buster. Meet a friend for coffee, visit the zoo, take a picnic to a local park, see a non-holiday movie, plan and cook a special meal, take a bike ride or visit the beach.
Give to Others-Sometimes the best way to get out of a negative mindset is serving others. Simply calling a friend to see how she is doing or baking bread for a neighbor can help alleviate depression. If you have a little more energy, you can volunteer at a homeless shelter, make blankets for a foster child program or visit a local nursing home. Seeing the plight of others can help put our lives in the proper perspective.
Pray-Many people find comfort in reading the Bible and praying. Making a connection with God can be very helpful in dealing with stressful or depressing circumstances.
If you’d like more practical help for dealing with depression, you can print The Peaceful Mom Natural Antidepressant List. Try to do at least one activity on the list each day and if you find something else that makes you feel better, add it to the list!
If you are going through a difficult time right now, you are not alone. There are many others who also feel down at this time of year.
Psalm 34:18 says,”The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He sees where you are and wants to help.
Please Note: This post is not intended as medical or professional advice. I am just a mom who has dealt with depression in the past and I am sharing some ways I learned to cope with it. Some depression needs to be treated medically and you should consult your doctor or other mental health professional if your circumstances require it.
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