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Apex Recovery Blog

Top 7 Ways to Combat Holiday Depression

a person holds their head in agony while looking at a wrapped gift on a table during christmas

About 75% of people surveyed say the holidays contribute to feelings of sadness and dissatisfaction. As a result, many people experience holiday depression, or “the holiday blues.” About 40% of adults struggle with additional social anxiety during the holidays as well.

Unfortunately, holiday depression could cause a relapse if you’re currently trying to maintain your sobriety.

Here are seven tips you can use to combat the holiday blues this season. With these tips, you can gather the resources you need to maintain your sobriety. Read on to learn more.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

First, take a moment to acknowledge what you’re feeling.

For example, perhaps a loved one died during the holidays and you’re experiencing grief. Perhaps you can’t be with your loved ones this year, causing feelings of sadness or loneliness.

Once you acknowledge your feelings, give yourself permission to express them. For example, you might cry if you’re struggling with grief or punch a pillow if you’re upset. Write what you’re feeling down in a journal to process your emotions.

You don’t have to force yourself to smile simply because it’s the holiday season. Instead, give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling.

Consider talking to someone about the emotions you’re experiencing, too. For example, you might talk to a friend or family member. If you’re more comfortable speaking with someone outside of your circle, talk to a therapist or another mental health professional.

You can find resources at a San Diego alcohol rehabilitation center to find someone to talk to. They can help you work through your emotions easier than you would alone.

2. Build a Support System

During the holiday season, it’s important to remember you’re not alone, even if it feels like you are at the moment.

If you experience feelings of loneliness or isolation, reach out to your support system. For example, you can visit alcohol treatment centers in San Diego. You can also find support at social events within your community.

For example, you might want to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Attending meetings regularly will allow you to lean on others for support. It can also help you learn from other people who are struggling with holiday depression. Talk to them about the coping mechanisms they use to maintain their sobriety during this time.

Otherwise, look for websites, online support groups, and virtual events you can attend. These resources can help you find the support and companionship you’re searching for.

If you ever feel stressed or sad during the holiday season, let a friend or family member know.

You can also try volunteering your time to others in need. Putting a smile on someone’s face by offering your help could lift your spirits. It can also broaden your friendships and personal network.

For example, you can drop off a meal at a senior’s or religious center.

3. Remain Realistic

Putting unrealistic expectations on the holiday season will only put unnecessary pressure on your shoulders. Instead, try to remain realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect.

They likely won’t feel exactly like last year, either.

Instead, give your family the chance to change and grow over time. Your holiday rituals and traditions will likely change, too. That’s okay!

Give your life space for new traditions, moments, and opportunities.

For example, perhaps your family can’t all be together this holiday season. Plan a trip to see them some time later in the year. Share pictures, videos, and emails about your own holiday celebrations.

You can also “see” one another by scheduling a video call.

4. Learn to Say No

Sometimes, saying “no” is the best thing you can do for your mental health. Remember, you don’t have to force a smile on your face during the holiday season. You also don’t have to bend over backward to please your loved ones.

Instead, set healthy boundaries if you start feeling overwhelmed. Otherwise, you could begin feeling resentful if you feel forced into certain situations.

Consider preparing an excuse ahead of time if your friends don’t understand why you’re not participating in a certain event or activity.

Creating these boundaries will help you avoid burning out, too.

5. Follow Healthy Habits

One of the biggest mistakes you can make regarding the holidays and mental health is neglecting the habits you’ve developed. Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to break the rules you set. Otherwise, you could overindulge.

Instead, try to:

  • Add physical activity to your daily routine
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Have a healthy snack to avoid going overboard on sweets
  • Avoid excessive alcohol, drug use, or tobacco

If you’re trying to maintain your sobriety, let your friends and family members know. They can help hold you accountable.

6. Find Ways to Unwind

Surrounding yourself with friends and family members can sometimes feel overwhelming, leading to stress. Try to find ways to relax this holiday season. Make time for yourself.

For example, you can go for a walk to get a breath of fresh air (and a little quiet).

You can also meditate, try yoga, or use deep-breathing exercises.

If you feel overwhelmed, separate yourself from the situation. Try reading a book or playing music instead. These coping mechanisms can reduce your stress levels to restore your inner calm.

7. Seek Professional Help

Relapse rates spike by 150% during the holidays, with an increase in patient visits over the festive season.

Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. Instead, learn how to cope with the holiday blues by visiting rehab centers in San Diego. These rehabilitation centers provide helpful resources that can help you through this difficult time.

For example, you can speak with a therapist, attend a group meeting, or learn how to navigate your triggers.

‘Tis the Season: Combat Holiday Depression With These Tips Today

You don’t have to battle holiday depression alone. Instead, use these seven tips to learn how to cope during the holiday season. With these tips, you can manage your depression and maintain your sobriety.

Remember, there are plenty of resources available that can help. We’re here for you.

Contact us today to get started.

Call Our Toll-Free Hotline 24/7 at 877.881.2689