Managing Post Holiday Depression
After holiday depression is common – you’re not alone with being depressed on Christmas –following all the planning and the excitement there can be a huge let down with feelings of severe despondency and dejection. The first week of January brings business as usual, but it can also be a time of financial and emotional stress.
Managing post-holiday depression can be achieved with guidance and support. Read more about getting over holiday blues here…
Holiday blues explained
The holiday blues meaning shares many of the characteristics of mood disorders and anxiety. Holiday blues symptoms may include difficulty sleeping and concentrating, irritability, and a lack of energy. The difference is that these feelings of depression are often short-term.
The causes of holiday blues appear to be related to the abrupt withdrawal of stress hormones such as adrenaline. This results in the brain trying to restore order and adjust to different routines – having a huge impact on both biological and psychological well-being.
The effort of dealing with difficult situations and relationships over a short period of time is another possible factor causing post-holiday depression, and getting back to a normal routine as quickly as possible will help with struggling emotions.
How to manage holiday depression
Acknowledging that depression during holidays is not unusual is the starting point. Then you can take steps to make your situation more acceptable. Aim to:
Get enough quality sleep – essential for maintaining physical and mental health. Poor sleep can have a negative impact on energy levels, mood, performance, and enjoyment of life. Keep to a regular routine and make sure your bedroom is dark and cool.
Take regular exercise – many forms of physical activity can ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety to make you feel better. A 10-minute walk can be as effective as a 45-minute workout and can elevate a depressed mood.
Eat a healthy diet packed with nutrients – including fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines, nuts, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Learn the art of mediation – when you become relaxed and calm this powerful healing method for anxiety clears negative energies from the brain and the nervous system, letting you feel happier and strong enough to carry on with your daily life.
Reach out to family and friends – once the festive season is over you can feel lonely and empty so get a much-needed boost by filling your calendar with activities to look forward to with people you enjoy being with.
Stop feeling guilty – be patient and take the time to focus on all the positives of the holiday period, knowing that you will start to pick up shortly.
Do positive things – try to do five small constructive things every day. This could be something as simple as washing your hair or tidying a room.
Make time for others – acts of kindness have a knock-on effect which will help you as a giver – this can include young children as you enjoy playing and reading with them.
Chat to your doctor if you’re taking anti-depressants – this could be a time when you don’t want to stop taking them
When to get counselling
Holiday depression and stress should improve within a few weeks, but sometimes this isn’t the case. Extra emphasis may be needed on the basics of your physical and mental well-being as well as adjusting your expectations. This is where a counsellor and psychotherapist can help.
Counselling will often focus on short term issues which can include holiday depression, by helping with behavioural changes to enable you to cope. Successful therapy relies on the openness of your relationship with your therapist so during sessions you’ll discuss relationships, thoughts, and feelings. This will all be completely confidential but will allow your therapist to support you in achieving your goals – working towards a happier life.