Why Depression Often Increases During The Holidays and How to Prepare Against it?

Why Depression Often Increases During The Holidays and How to Prepare Against it?

The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and cheer, but several factors can cause stress, anxiety, and even depression during the holiday season. 

Bowman Medical Group board-certified psychiatrists Philip J. Bowman, MD, and Sara Bobak, MD, strive to help you lead a happy and fulfilling life. Every year the holidays arrive, whether we’re ready or not, and all that yuletide cheer can bring with it unique stressors, but there are things you can do to help you combat the holiday blues. 

Plan ahead

Preparing ahead of time for the holidays is an excellent way to gain some control so that you know what to expect and feel more capable of coping. Various factors can make the holidays stressful. 

For some of us, it’s the pressure of holiday shopping and choosing the perfect gifts for our loved ones. For others, it’s increased tension from being around family members with who we may not see eye to eye. 

Sometimes it’s the sheer expectation that comes along with the holiday season. Whatever it is for you, identify the factors that increased your stress during the holidays and create an action plan to combat those stressors. 

Assemble support 

Having emotional support during the holidays is invaluable. Whether you get together with friends, call on a close family member when you need to vent, or schedule extra sessions with a mental health provider, it’s crucial to have some support during the holidays. 

If you have a small social circle, enlist the support of at least one person that you trust. This way, if things get rough during the holidays, you can lean on someone for support. 

Consider volunteering

Doing something for others is a powerful way to combat depression. Volunteering has many proven benefits, including lowering blood pressure, relieving anxiety, and boosting feel-good chemicals that make us feel more connected and content. Many organizations need volunteers during the holidays. 

Consider checking your local organizations and volunteering your time helping others this holiday season. Even spending a few hours working with an organization to give out holiday turkeys or meals can have a profoundly positive impact on your mood and wellbeing. 

Take a break

While it’s best to avoid isolating yourself during the holidays, there are times when the holidays can become overwhelming. During those instances, it’s okay and even helpful to take a break. Taking some time to engage in a stress-busting activity like listening to soothing music, even if only for a few minutes, can help you cope with the chaos of the holidays. 

Whether you’re at a holiday party and start to feel overwhelmed, or you’re spending time with family members and start to feel some anxiety, have a place you can go briefly to take a break. Even going in a bathroom and taking some relaxing deep breaths can make a difference. 

If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other aspect of your mental health during the holidays and beyond, the Bowman Medical Group providers can help. We offer individualized treatment plans to help you combat challenges and feel better. To get started, call our Beverly Hills office to schedule a consultation with one of our providers. 

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