Though it's supposed to be a joyous season, many struggle to find ways to deal with Christmas depression. This seasonal form of depression is usually triggered by all the stress placed on us during the hectic holiday season. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to deal with Christmas depression and make the holidays a little brighter. After all, we all deserve to be happy.
One of the best ways to deal with Christmas depression that I've found is to volunteer. Christmas is about giving, not receiving or buying expensive gifts for others. Volunteering gives you the chance to give to someone who truly needs and appreciates it. Shop for a toy drive, spend a few days at a soup kitchen or partner with local holiday charities. Seeing the joy on the faces of others goes a long way towards bringing back the meaning of the season.
2. Stop Focusing on Prices
Finances are always kind of depressing as you try to fit gifts for family and friends into a tight budget. You don't have to stretch yourself so thin that you have to do without or spend the next year trying to pay for everything. Buy inexpensive gifts that the recipient will love. If they're too focused on the price to be appreciative, don't buy for them anymore. Don't let the greed of others get you down.
3. Don't Force Yourself to Be Happy
Christmas depression is often triggered by others expecting or even demanding you to be happy. Sometimes you just don't feel super happy. Maybe you had a bad day and a big family dinner is the last thing you want to go to. If you really don't feel up to being happy, skip events or parties or at least bow out early. Tell people you don't feel good. Then, do something you thoroughly enjoy to help boost your spirits.
4. Make Time for You
Christmas can be chaotic to say the least. As you rush around shopping, spending time with family and friends, decorating and cooking holiday meals, you lose yourself. With no down time, it's easy to lose sight of what the holiday is all about. You need time to relax and breathe. No matter what else is going on, make time for you. Schedule in time to see a movie or read a book in a quiet room. Sometimes relaxing helps reduce depression.
5. Avoid Family Conflicts
Family gatherings aren't always as wonderful as they seem on TV. In real life, they often turn into a Madea movie instead. Don't let your family ruin your holiday. If someone tries to poke at you, tell them you'll talk about it later or excuse yourself to another room. Offer to help cook dinner, clean up, babysit the younger kids or just take a bathroom break. If it's really bad, make other plans that'll reduce the time you have to spend with your family.
6. Stop Trying to Be Perfect
Sometimes it feels like Christmas throws a bright spotlight on you. Everyone wants to analyze everything you've done throughout the year. If you're hosting a party or gathering, you feel as if every dish and decoration are being criticized. Stop worrying about being perfect. Christmas is about being with those you love and being grateful. Stop for a minute and think about all the wonderful things in your life. You're perfect the way you are. If others can't accept it, that's their problem, not yours.
7. Have an anti-Christmas
If the thought of spending time with family, finding the right gifts and just the general feel of the holiday depresses you, create your own holiday. You might still have to deal with Christmas, but you also get to look forward to your special anti-Christmas. Get a few friends together and just have fun. Laugh about all the things you don't like about the season. It's a great way to vent, de-stress and have a little fun.
If you have Christmas depression, you're not alone and it doesn't mean anything's wrong with you. It happens to millions. Just remember to take time for yourself and let go of the holiday stress. How do you handle your seasonal depression?