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The issue of depression is a serious one and the holiday season brings added stress to all of us. For those suffering from mild depression, the holidays can tip the scales from “doing okay” to not. And if you’re missing family members who live far away the sadness can overwhelm us. Seeing those around us celebrating with weeks of parties, gift-exchanges, concerts, and all manner of festivities can be exhausting.

How do we move forward?

Here are five positive ways to help you cope with the stress of the holiday season:

  1. Connect with people. Make the effort to send a card, make a phone call, or otherwise connect with the important people in your life. Even if you can’t be together face to face, you can send your love and let them know you care. It’s healing to reach out and give, even when it hurts a bit.
  1. Sort out the holiday events you really love and let the rest go. Attending a lovely Christmas concert with a friend may be all you need to enjoy the season and let go the flurry of open houses, parties and spending a lot of money to decorate and buy gifts.
  1. Give a gift to a worthy cause and let your family know you did this in their name. There are so many organizations, both local and abroad that do wonderful work for the poor and needy. It feels good to support one of these causes.
  1. Take good care of yourself physically. Eat well, get enough rest, and get some exercise. It’s amazing how taking care of your body helps with care for our mental well-being.
  1. Be open to talking to a friend or a health professional if necessary. We all need a bit of help now and then. Don’t try to “go it alone.” Sometimes a brief opportunity to talk and honestly share feelings does a world of good.

Most of us experience some anxiety and stress in the holiday season. It’s a normal response to a busy time filled with anticipation. But if you feel the need, there are resources to help you. Here are a few of them. (Just go to the websites and type in the title of the article.) the article, Coping with Depressing During the Holiday Season: When Sadness Clashes with Celebration, by Denise Mann. Stress, Depression, and the Holidays: Tips for Coping, from the Mayo Clinic Staff.  When the Holidays Turn Depressing by Dr. Charles Raison.

Footnote: Here are some fun games to play with kids when travelling by car.

A great way to relieve stress when going on holiday!