Not everyone has a happy-for-the-holidays mentality. Many people are grieving the loss of a loved one. Many other are facing the holidays alone. And still more are feeling financially overwhelmed, annoyed by unwanted house guests, and imbalanced with a schedule far more full than in other months of the year.
It’s no wonder that the holiday season has a habit of triggering depression and anxiety in millions of Americans each year. The holiday season acts as a ‘tipping point’ of sorts, pushing people with slight depressive tendencies towards more debilitating episodes of depression and sadness. Suicide attempts and substance abuse skyrocket during these months, especially for those who are already prone to depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.
Preventing and dealing with seasonal depression, however, isn’t as complicated as you might think! Here are six ways to stop depression from setting in, or dealing with it once it does:
Preventing & Treating Seasonal Depression
Take Care of Yourself, First
Finding time for self-care, sleep, and exercise—amongst all of the baking and shopping and wrapping and parties and entertaining—can be a challenge, to say the least. But taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do. Did you know that 30-minutes of exercise is equivalent to taking an antidepressant? Get that exercise outside and you’ll reap the added benefits of light therapy. If you’re struggling to fid the time for self care, schedule it into your day and stick to it!
Stay Away From Drama & Conflict
Holiday parties are stressful for many reasons, but especially when you know that drama and conflict are on the horizon. Prepare a standard response—something like, ‘Let’s talk about this some other time’—and walk away from the conversation before it escalates.
Accept That Perfection Is Impossible
The holidays are about spending time with loved ones and bringing joy to the lives of others, and you don’t need Martha Stewart-like decorations or an all-natural, gluten-free, baked-from-scratch pie or a perfectly thoughtful and impeccably wrapped gift to do that. Stop obsessing over trivial details and get back to what the holidays are all about—joy and happiness.
Ask for Help
Especially if you are grieving the loss of a family member or loved one, find a support group and talk about it. Support groups exist for almost any situation imaginable. Visit Mental Health America to find a support group, and don’t be afraid to put your hand out and ask for help!
Beware Eating, Drinking & Overindulfging
That second helping of pumpkin pie may be delicious at the time, but beyond being physically unhealthy, overindulging can also result in feelings of guilt and shame—both of which exacerbate depressive symptoms. Alcohol is also a dangerous substance for those suffering from depression, as it serves to intensify emotions. Remove alcohol from your house this holiday season, and keep healthy snacks close by. Remember, everything in moderation.
‘No’ Is An Acceptable Answer
At the end of the day, saying no is a simple way to eliminate the stress and anxiety associated with overcommitting. If the thought of a crowded holiday party overwhelms you, just say no. If the idea of spending Christmas day with your entire extended family sends shockwaves of anxiety through your body, just say no. Only do what you are mentally and physically capable of—take a long walk or hike on the holiday, or even travel somewhere with your immediate family or closest friends. Listen to your heart and don’t feel bad about saying no.
Contact Spine Intervention Clinic
If your depression or anxiety is already spiraling out of control this holiday season, consider receiving ketamine treatments at our Oregon City ketamine clinic. Ketamine is effective in treating depression in upwards of 70% of patients—and it oftentimes works within hours. Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our anesthesiologists and learn if you or a loved one might qualify for ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression or anxiety. Just complete the brief form below and we’ll be in touch to schedule your consultation.