Let's Talk About Holidays and DEPRESSION.


There are some things you CAN do to make it better!

I know. Depression is the ugly monster that rears its head up around the holidays.  For some people, the glitter and the presents and the cheery greetings are JUST TOO MUCH! 

It is just too much pretense and too many fake smiles.  For those of us with depressive problems (seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, dysthymic disorder, major depression, etc) the holidays can seem more like torture.  And NOW? It is even worse with crappy Covid.  (Thank goodness there is a vaccine on the horizon!) 

It can be hard when you see family, co-workers or friends and you think you are being judged or they ask invasive questions or they have unrealistic expectations.  Or even worse, because of the pandemic restrictions, there are zero gatherings. What's even worse than nosy family get-togethers? Being alone for the holidays. (Screw you, COVID!) 

What can you do to make it better? 3 EASY TIPS

It is ALL about self-care!  There are several easy, practical steps you can take to manage depression at the holidays.  Here are 3 EASY TIPS that can bring you some relief.  We will talk about each one and how it helps battle depression. 

1. Get moving

2. Take a break

3. Re-focus  

1. GET MOVING

Psychiatrist, therapists and psychologists will tell you that exercise really helps with symptoms of depression. WHY?  We all know that gentle exercise helps the body - with inflammation, with joint flexibility, with weight management - creating healthier outcomes.

You BRAIN is a part of your body! All the benefits for what's south of the neck help what's north, too! LOL

And, it just makes you feel good. Any movement is better than none! You do not need to join a gym to add exercise to your day. There is something about taking a 10-minute walk that helps. If you can't take a walk outside, then turn on the radio inside and dance along for 10 minutes.  Try hula-hoops or jumping rope, like you did when you were a child.  If that is too energetic, try some yoga or stretching.

Just get moving - it really helps the body AND the brain.   

2. TAKE A BREAK

There are probably hundreds of ways that you can take a break from depression, the holidays or whatever is stressing you out. BUT, my favorite way to take a break (and the one that works best for ME) is MEDITATION!

If you have never tried meditation, then there are some super easy to incorporate it into your life - RIGHT NOW!  My #1 go-to stress and depression buster is this simple breathing meditation - I call it the 5X5X5.  Try it right now.  (You can close your eyes or not - doesn't matter.)

Breathe in through the nose for the count of 5.
Hold your breath for the count of 5.
Breathe out through your mouth for the count of 5. 

EASY, right?  

If you want to take this up a notch, then do this - as you are breathing IN, tell yourself that you are breathing in PEACE.  (Or any other positive word you like!) Hold that word PEACE in your heart and mind for the count of 5 and then breathe out.  When you breathe OUT, you will notice that your shoulders soften and release tension!  

(If you want to take the positivity and relaxation even further, then check out the Guided Meditations I wrote for you - there is a button on the main page of my website for them OR there is a blog post with links for them, too.)  

3. RE-FOCUS

It is supremely easy for depressive people to turn inward and think that life is horrible and no one loves them.  Depression is, by its very definition, an inward spiral into separation from your authentic self and from others.  It is a nasty disorder/state of being. 

Because depression keeps you separated from life and distant from others, sometimes you have to close that distance.  HOW? By refocusing. 

Refocus on little positive parts of life.  Refocus on doing good for others. 

When my son was little, he was very sick for his first decade of life. He couldn't even go to school. (Talk about depressing for him and for me!) It would have been easy to slip further into a "poor-me" mentality, especially since I had been already diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.  And my son had anxiety and depression about his medical issues. We really had to refocus on the positives in life.

For us, we focused on the little things in life that made us happy. Everyday, we would include some little special thing, like a book, a special song, a bubble bath, a trip to the park - just anything to refocus and remember that there was MORE GOOD than bad. 

We would also refocus on others.  When I was especially grumbly or down, that is when I needed to get out of my own negativity the most.  I would visit a soup kitchen or hand out food to the homeless or volunteer to teach kids about recycling or something else that I love.  It was just a way to get out of my own downward spiral and it made a difference!

Depression is a nasty, negative disorder, but you CAN combat it.

Sometimes, it helps to talk to a therapist or even take medications for depression. I have done both of those in my lifetime. And I will do them again when I need to. Therapy and medication can be wonderful tools to help you.

But do not forget to take these 3 little steps everyday -

Get MOVING,

Take a BREAK,

Re-FOCUS.

Cheers to you all. I truly hope your holidays, whatever you celebrate, are filled with peace, love and joy.