Surviving the Holidays, Part 2: Depression
This is the 2nd part of a series on surviving the holidays for those suffering from addiction, eating disorders and other mental health issues.
The holidays can be very hard for depressed people. For people who struggle to get out of bed in the morning, facing a whole day of crowds, cooking and other holiday activities can seem overwhelming. Despite this, there are ways someone with depression can enjoy their holidays, it just takes some preparation.
Step 1 – Don't isolate yourself
Depression often makes people flee from social situations but this is counterproductive. Isolation can actually feed depression. It may be difficult but people with depression should try to attend family gatherings and take part in holiday traditions. It can be the best medicine.
Step 2 – Make a plan
Make plans with people, get organised and make contact. This helps beat isolation and will help those with depression feel like a part of something. A plan also gives structure which minimises anxiety about the unknown. Once the plan is in place, the holiday can seem much less intimidating
Don’t get complacent - if your routine is keeping you safe keep it up!
Step 3 – Form realistic goals
If someone goes into a situation expecting it to be a perfect success and the best holiday of their life, they are bound to be disappointed. By setting achievable goals and managing expectations, people with depression can still have a happy holiday without having to deal with disappointment. The small goals will also help them interact and give them an incentive to try new things.
Step 4 – Speak with a therapist or other treatment provider before the holidays
A therapist can offer personalised help and suggestions. They can also be a great outlet to help reduce stress or anxiety. Sometimes simply voicing concerns can put them into perspective and help people move past them.
Step 5 – Avoid alchohol
Alcohol may sound like a great way to get in the holiday spirit but it has two fundamental flaws. First of all it can react badly with medications for depression. Secondly, alcohol is a depressant. It is more likely to exacerbate depression than alleviate it.
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<strong>Expert Tip – Dr Hannan, GP </strong
<p>One way to fight depression is to make you feel healthy and happy. Some light daily exercise, even a 30 minute walk, will increase your strength and stamina as well as your overall sense of well-being.</p>