The Christmas holidays can be a difficult time for our stress levels and it’s even more difficult for people with a mental health condition such as low mood/depression. At this time of the year we have the additional stress of getting all ready for the holiday season. The shopping list is longer than usual, family gets-together planning becomes stressful, and the time we have for ourselves shrinks altogether causing additional tension, low mood and irritability. When you feel low/depressed and stressed out the Christmas spirit can soon turn into frustration leaving you with a sense of it’s all too much to cope with. Below is a list of tips you can use to help you cope with low mood at this time of the year.
1. Acceptance is key
Sometimes when you get caught into the loop of feeling low in mood, you may end up becoming critical towards yourself for feeling the way you do. This vicious cycle of self-blaming ultimately reinforces and maintains your low mood instead of contributing to its decrease in frequency and intensity. Instead, acceptance can be a useful strategy since it can help you shift from self-blaming towards taking a compassionate stance about what’s going on for you at that time.
2. Drink in moderation or do not drink at all
I know it's easy to say and hard to do, but remember that alcohol is a depressant and can enhance the symptoms of depression and low mood. If you are taking anti-depressants, then it is advisable to avoid alcohol altogether.
3. Do your shopping online
A good strategy can be to plan well in advance your Christmas shopping, and to buy everything you can online instead of going shopping in store. This will save you time and money as you will be able to compare prices more effectively without risking to incur in any debts, which in turns increase your chances of feeling low and worried. Shopping online will also lead to a much less stressful experience as you can do this from the comfort of your home while sipping your favourite drink.
4. Reach out to your support network
Meeting with your loved ones is as much as it is important to take some time for yourself to do some self-care, especially at this time of the year. A good tip is to remember to talk with people you love instead of suffering in silence. Remember that talking helps and can lead to a much better outcome for you. Spending time with your loved ones can help you feel less lonely and sad, and this can be a resourceful strategy to adopt in the long term to help you cope with low mood beyond the Christmas season.
5. Talk to an expert
You may have tried a number of things but nothing seems to help you much. If you feel a loss of general interest even for those activities that you used to enjoy and a tendency to shut away, it is time to make contact with a mental health professional. If you feel that it’s all too much and you can’t just get off this vicious cycle of feeling bad and low talking to an expert can be helpful to help you explore options and strategies to successfully overcome this difficult time.