It may be called “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for many people, the holiday season is anything but wonderful. Holiday depression hits people regardless of whether they live in a warm state like Florida, or in a refrigerated region like New England.
The holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving and continuing on to New Year’s Day, are traditionally a time to be with family and friends. But, depression can create such a sense of loneliness and isolation that some people dread every day of it. Here are 5 top signs that you may be suffering from holiday depression, along with ways to cope with it:
1. Feeling isolated? “Lean on me.” These aren’t just words to a popular song. If you do not have a family, find a friend or support group and give yourself permission to lean on them. If you are blessed to have family nearby, take a big dose of family-fun time. It’s the perfect prescription to brighten your mood. Live in the Sunshine State? Then, go to an amusement park in Florida and soak up the Florida sun.
2. Grieving intensely? When someone close to you dies, the grief can become unbearable. And the memory of your loss can be even more excruciating during the holidays. Don’t run from the pain. Feel it. Then do something proactive. For example, you can honor your loved one by making a contribution in that person’s name to their favorite charity or create an event that memorializes them.
3. Moody over money? At no other time of year does our purse feel emptier than the holidays. Not having enough cash to purchase gifts is a major contributor to holiday depression. Rethink your method of gift-giving. If you can’t give a gift, give of your time and talents. And don’t go overboard with credit card purchases. Monitor your mood and your spending. Set a budget for buying gifts and stick to it.
4. Overeating out of frustration? It’s easy to make food your “best friend” when you’re down. After all, food is comforting and makes you feel better. When you feel the urge to crawl inside a box of your favorite snack and eat your way out, don’t! Redirect your energy by doing something else–reading, talking to a friend, or taking a walk. Indeed, exercise is a great mood altering activity.
5. Overindulging in alcohol? During the holidays, the blues can strike even under the bright Florida sun. Drowning your depression in alcohol will only make you feel worse. It may also cause you to drink and drive, which places you at risk for getting in an accident.
As expressed by one DUI lawyer Gainesville Florida based, “The first time you are convicted of driving under the influence, you can expect to pay large fines, complete community service, spend time on probation and perhaps even log some jail time.” Police enforcement against drunk driving increases during the holiday. If you are arrested for drunk driving, contact a DUI lawyer immediately.
There is hope and help
If the holiday blues are getting you down, find ways to work through them. The first step in doing this is to stay sober. Avoid drinking altogether or drink non-alcoholic beverages, such as sparkling cider or grape juice, to celebrate the holidays.
You don’t have to face your holiday depression alone, reach out and ask for help and be willing to receive it. It’s amazing how many people can help to make your season “bright” and bring balance back into your life.
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell has many scars from battling holiday blues. She urges others to rally their spirit and seek emotional sanctuary with friends and family. For those who slip into depression and drive under the influence, she encourages them to forgive themselves and get legal advice. For Florida denizens, there is a DUI lawyer Gainesville clients have found most helpful.