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Managing Holiday Depression

By Eileen Bailey

For many, the holiday season is full of parties and celebrations. There are messages around us of joy, love and peace. But for many others, the holidays bring other emotions. Depression and anxiety are high around the holiday season. This can happen for many different reasons. For some, financial concerns may take the place of happiness. Stress and anxiety over family functions and dealing with overextended children may top the message of peace and love.

Depression is a common co-existing condition with anxiety. Both children and adults can suffer from depression. Depression can occur throughout the year, and for many people it does, but can be increased during the holiday season. There are, however, a number of ways people can control and manage symptoms of depression, instead of allowing feelings of despair destroy the joy of the holiday season.

Continue Treatment

With the addition of holiday parties and other events, it is easy to ignore a doctor or therapist appointment. However, it is important to be consistent with treatment and continue to visit with your doctor and therapist to help manage symptoms of depression. Medication is available if depression is not manageable through other means.

Modify Your Expectations

Sometimes, our expectations for the holiday season do not match the reality of the situation. Ideas of what the holiday season should be may be left over from our childhood, we may imagine everyone is happy, everyone is nice and everyone suddenly forgets all the bad that may have happened throughout the years and focus only on the good. But this only happens on television. Sometimes, we watch fuzzy and warm holiday movies and end up believing that is the way the world should be. Our own realities, which cannot match a television show, can be depressing.

Think about your expectations for the holidays. Are they realistic expectations? Readjust your expectations to meet your reality. If you are having financial problems, adjust your gift giving to match your abilities. Friends and family will understand and may actually be in the same situation. If your expectations include wonderful family get-togethers even though the reality is you don’t enjoy being around your family, limit the amount of time you spend with your family and instead fill your time being with people you enjoy and people that make you feel good about yourself.

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