I’ve suffered with depression for most of my adult life. It’s not uncommon. In fact, more than 300 million people worldwide suffer with some form of depression.
For many people, the holidays bring such joy, but once they’re over and the decorations are taken down, loneliness and depression can rear its ugly head.
Much of what we’re feeling is the difficulty in returning to a more structured routine.
Extended breaks come to an end, the kids are back in school, and you’re back to work or daily chores at home. But we can make small, easy changes in our daily routines that can help us fight that post-holiday depression.
Change Your Sleep Schedule
If you’ve traveled during the holidays, experiencing jet lag and general exhaustion from long road trips can really wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. It may take some time for your body to acclimate to your normal schedule or even your own time zone!
Drink Less Caffeine and Alcohol
It shouldn’t be a surprise that alcohol is a depressant, so it can greatly affect your mood and your sleep. Alcohol also blocks REM sleep, so if you’re drinking, you’re not getting the quality, deep sleep that you’re used to. On the other end of the spectrum, caffeine is a stimulate and can cause you to have problems falling asleep and staying asleep.
The holiday season forces us to spend most, if not all, of our free time prepping, running, cooking, and wrapping gifts. We’re constantly busy and, more importantly, accomplishing things.
The things we accomplish during the holiday season are about as close to instant gratification as one can get. Our brains almost certainly crave that sense of accomplishment again. So, make a list of things that you want to accomplish. For me, it’s the four or five projects around the house I started and haven’t yet finished. Check your list each time something gets accomplished. List small things, too, even if it’s as basic as cleaning out the junk drawer.
Refresh Your Space
Bringing a fresh feel to your space can be as time consuming as a fresh coat of paint, or as basic as purchasing fresh flowers from your local flower shop or grocery store.
We snack on, and eat, so much food during the holiday season and most of us see the number on the scale increase.
First, don’t do anything drastic. If you decide to take on a brand new exercise-all-the-time-and-eat-zero-sugar lifestyle, then you’re going to get burnt out very quickly. So, start with small changes, like cutting out soda or half of your carb intake. Try adding fresh veggies to your snack time or to your dinners. The changes will be slow, but you’ll feel better and keep the weight off longer.
Take Time for Yourself
Go for a walk, spend an hour getting a mani and pedi, or curl up with a blanket and read a book. We take care of others during the holidays, especially if you’re a parent, so it’s time to take care of ourselves.
When Nothing Seems To Help Depression
If no changes you’ve made have helped, or if you feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel and you’re hopeless, please seek medical help immediately or reach out to a friend.
- Find a medical professional in your area.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at (800) 273-8255.
- Find resources at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
What is one way you find helpful to beat post-holiday blues?