6 Ways to Ease Holiday Depression

It is common that the holiday season often brings stress, anxiety and depression. And it’s no wonder that people are more likely to feel overwhelmed and have a hard time managing their feelings for the months of November and December.

We’re learning more and more about the surprising reach and power stress has over us, it seems to be heightened over the holiday season as well. But would you have guessed that food high in fat and sugar (aka junk food) is worse for your health when you’re under stress?

But with some easy to implement strategies, it is possible to manage your stress that accompanies the holidays.

Strategies to combat holiday stress and depression

1. Acknowledge and talk about your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings.

2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, we have a great online community in our online tool, BrainFitLife. Our coaches offer support and companionship.

3. Meditate and practice mindfulness. Make time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh your mind. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

4. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.

5. Don’t forget about your daily healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Did you know the #1 day of admission for heart attacks is December 25th? Because in the months of November and December, it is more common to lose sight of your nutrition plan and come December 25th you’ve been eating junk food for months.

These healthy suggestions may ease anxiety before big holiday parties

• Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets or cheese.
• Get 7-8 hours of sleep.
• Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

Additional options may include:

• Take a brisk walk at night.
• Write down 5 things you are grateful for.
• Be in nature.
• Listen to meditation tracks.
• Read a book.

At Amen Clinics, we can help you and your loved ones overcome the stigma and suffering associated with anxiety, depression, and other emotional and cognitive issues. We hope you have an enjoyable holiday and if you need assistance from a mental health professional we urge you to give us a call at 1-888-288-9834 or contact us.

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  1. Thank you for sharing the great information Dr.Amen!

  2. Christine A. VanDerWyk says:

    Recently lost my dearest mother on July 6th, 2017. This is my first holiday season without my younger brother, father, mother. My son lives in Calif. – my sister lives in Michigan. I live alone and have no car or public transportation. So, I did do some Christmas decorating in this apt. Everything I read in this article was very helpful. Thank you for sharing these survival skills. Sincerely.

  3. Patricia. Feuerstein says:

    I have always watched your pbs shows and just received your change your brain…book. Anxiety and depression try to rule my life. Im looking forward to reading your book and using the info to help. Thank you:

  4. Julie says:

    I have a difficult time around the holidays. Both of my grandparents died, although a few years apart around this time of year. I also feel that a lot of people act a certain way this time of year but the rest of the year the complete opposite, and may treat you as if you’re invisible. I dont like being around what I feel are phony people with plastic smiles that “act” like they care. How hard is it to pick up the phone, and ask how you are feeling? This is the first year I feel completly blah about Christmas. My meds I’m taking are Gabapentin 100mg 3 times (Migraine)/ day, Diovan 160mg once / day, (Blood pressure) don’t current have but high blood pressure does run in my family. Atorvastatin 20mg once / day (Cholesterol) the same the prior . Could these meds possibly be causing my mood changes? Thank you for your help!

  5. Connie Jackson says:

    Excellent article- great reminders on having a better day. Thank you Amen Clinics!

  6. michelle bollhorst says:

    thank you for your advice but without getting help, there is nothing that can help me get through each day

  7. Tim says:

    Dr amen Appreciate your help
    Your emails are the only ones worth opening
    If there is anyway I could ever get a free SPECT scan let me no I could get to your clinic in Georgia
    , Tim Cyr


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