Depression and the Holidays: How to Better Manage

While the holidays can be a time of great cheer, it can also lead to holiday blues for many people. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression or another mental health condition, you might even find your symptoms worsening during this time. 

Dr. Ara Shafrazian and Dr. Arthur Babakhanians of LibertyMed Health Group in Glendale, California, are here to help you improve your mental health. Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with depression or just tend to feel low at this time of year, here are some tips to help you better manage during the holidays.

Reduce unnecessary stress

While you know the harmful effects of stress on your health, there’s no avoiding the fact that the holidays can be a stressful time. However, you can work to reduce unnecessary stress by managing your holiday expectations.

For example, work to avoid overscheduling yourself with events or promising to do more than you can realistically accomplish. Quality is always better than quantity. Don’t be afraid to say no and set limits. 

Avoid alcohol 

The holidays often include some celebratory alcoholic drinks such as mulled wine, eggnog, and champagne. However, it can be easy to rely on alcohol in unhealthy ways to cope with social anxiety, sadness, or loneliness during the holidays.

Because alcohol is a depressant, it’s likely to lower your mood overall as well as disrupt your sleep. If you already have depression, alcohol can make it worse or interact with your psychiatric medications, so make sure you know your limits — and stick to them. 

Connect with others

The coronavirus pandemic means this holiday season may be different from many others, leaving you feeling isolated and anxious. This makes it a great time to reconnect with old friends and loved ones virtually, which can help you feel connected even from afar. 

Another great way to combat loneliness is to find a way to volunteer during the holiday season. You can help others and maybe even meet new people in your community. 

Make time for yourself

If your depression acts up during the holidays in part because of social demands and busy schedules, make sure you give yourself time to decompress every day. Whether that’s taking a nice bath or going for a walk in the park, this can help you be more aware of your moods and de-stress from difficult experiences. 

Keep an eye out for seasonal affective disorder

If you notice your moods always seem to get low when the nights get longer and the days get colder, it’s worth discussing the possibility of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with our team. There are a number of things that can help stabilize your moods with a SAD diagnosis, including therapy, medicine, and special lamps. 

While these coping mechanisms are a great way to manage occasional holiday blues, if they feel debilitating, overwhelming, or constant, don’t wait to seek help so you feel better. Dr. Shafrazian and Dr. Babakhanians are here to listen to your concerns and support you in improving your mental health.

To find out more, contact the experienced family medicine team at LibertyMed Health Group. Call our office at 818-241-4129, or book an appointment online.

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