When it’s more than the holiday blues: 5 ways to combat depression in the holidays
The holiday season is upon us and with it can come a bevvy of emotions for adults and kids alike. Attending family events, programs, services, preparing and shopping… this season can feel like a stressor more than a joy. Avoiding the stressors and discovering healthy ways to handle them can make the season more enjoyable.
Focus on your health, both mental and physical. This includes healthy eating, exercising, walking around the block, yoga or meditating. Family outings to get out of the house and move your body can do wonders for mental health!
Set boundaries and expectations. Setting expectations for your children around what you can and cannot do during this busy season will help decrease disappointment in events that don’t happen and increase anticipation to things you can control. Balance is key during the holiday season.
Overcome the feelings of loss of traditions or grief by creating new traditions. The National Alliance of Mental Illness conducted a study, before the pandemic, with findings that 64% of Americans with diagnosed mental health conditions. find that their mental health status is poorer during the holiday season. Even those without conditions can experience low times during holidays, including kids. Talk openly with your family, especially if pre-pandemic traditions aren’t continuing or if you are dealing with the loss of loved ones, and work together to find new ways of celebrating the holidays.
Recenter your focus for the holidays. Seeing the joy and magic of the season through your children’s eyes can lift your spirits. Also, finding ways to help those in need can perk up a weary soul too. Making cookies with your kids to deliver to neighbors or volunteering to help others in your community during the holidays can add extra happiness to your holiday season.
Acknowledge your feelings during the holidays and seek help if needed. Emotions can seem like a rollercoaster throughout the year but are heightened during the holidays. This is true for children just as much as it is for adults. If you think your kids need help, consult with your child’s paediatrician for a mental health referral. If you believe your child is experiencing a crisis, seek help immediately.
For children and youth up to age 18 experiencing a mental health emergency, call the Tennessee Statewide Crisis Hotline:
Crisis TextLine – Text “TN” to 741741
If you are located outside of Tennessee, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK or (1-800-273-8255)
Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at www.youthvillages.org. For resources on coping with mental health struggles, visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline or National Alliance for Mental Illness.