Holiday Cheer-less: Coping with Grief and Depression
While the holidays are meant to be merry and bright, they’re not always the most wonderful time of year. We’re expected to throw ourselves into high gear this time of year—shopping, cooking, baking, celebrating, wrapping, and thanking. The added responsibilities and obligations are enough to strain anyone with grief.
You might have a range of reasons to not feel full of holiday cheer, including the illness or death of a loved one, stress associated with mental health conditions, divorce or other family upheaval, and more.
Seven Ways to Cope with Grief and Depression
If grief, stress, or depression is certain to be part of your holiday season this year, there are ways to soldier through this season and make it a bit more bearable. Here are seven:
#1: Accept this season for what it is.
Acceptance is often the first step towards any kind of healing. Perhaps you’ve always loved the holidays, and because of your loss or grief this year, you just can’t face them. Accept that they’ll happen—and eventually that this time, too, shall pass.
#2: Be honest about your feelings.
The holidays can make us feel our sorrow or depression keenly. It’s all right to be honest with your feelings, mourn your loss, and face what you can do. Choose the company of friends and family who will support you during this time. Lean on them.
#3: It’s OK to say no.
Additional responsibilities and social invitations can add layers of stress that aren’t present during other times of the year. These commitments can test even the healthiest and heartiest. Reduce your load—say ‘no’ to what you can’t or won’t do this year. Be realistic about what you can—or want to—commit to.
#4: Avoid excess.
It’s tempting to overindulge this time of year, whether that’s in retail therapy or in holiday treats. Make and stick to a budget for your shopping. Exercise restraint when it comes to holiday eating and drinking. Increased debt and added pounds won’t be welcome in your future.
#5: Make peace if possible.
Family gatherings can absolutely be stressful. If your family has had differences or you’re struggling in the wake of divorce or loss, it might be especially challenging to face family time this year. Yet, sometimes our anticipation of the event is worse than the event itself. If possible, make peace with family and celebrate your traditions together.
#6: Stay connected.
Grief and depression can feel especially isolating over the holidays. Making an effort to stay connected can ease this feeling. Reach out to friends for companionship and support. If you can, stay involved in your regular activities. Volunteering might also provide a healthy outlet and new focus.
#7: Get help when you need it.
When you’re struggling, therapy can help. And, often I find that if you think something is wrong, it often is. Relief—and the help you need—is only a phone call away.
At Guada Psychological Services, I offer individual, group, and video therapy for adolescents and adults struggling with a variety of mental health conditions. My approach to therapy is tailored to each patient, and I carefully consider the full context of each patient’s life, so I can help him or her make positive change. As a PsyD, I am trained to see even the most serious cases. Through comprehensive education, deep experience, and enduring human compassion, I build rapport and lasting relationships with each and every one of my patients to provide relief and a brighter future.
To discuss if therapy might help this holiday season, reach out for a short consultation at 847-797-4699.