12 Depression Days of Christmas
Author – Emma Triplett
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
How tough is Christmas when you have depression?
It is all over the place, perfect happy families and friends all getting together having a perfect fun time, spending lots of money, buying gifts galore, eating bundles of toxic food, work parties drinking yourself silly and then there’s New Year!
How much pressure do you feel under?
Do you remember what I said about marketing and the media creating expectations – it’s intensive this time of year, they’re all competing for your money.
Don’t believe the hype, many people are feeling exactly as you are.
I’m not bah humbug and I’m not against Christmas at all, but I am acutely aware of the anxiety it causes people – everywhere, so here are my 12 days of Christmas count down to coping
Money is a big pressure point at Christmas – you don’t have to buy into it (notice the pun!). The best Christmas presents are actually handmade gifts that show someone has actually thought about you, not creamed off one of the 3 for the price of 2 deals just to tick you off the list. If you have children, even better, how about spending time with your children making gifts.
Resist indulging in the sugary, carbohydrates and alcohol. It’s only for a month and it wont ruin Christmas if you don’t get drunk and make yourself sick. You know if you do, it will be harder to cope, so don’t go there.
Change the way you are thinking about Christmas situations. If there is something you are dreading, deal with it now – either make your excuses and cancel or work out a positive spin you can put on the situation so you go forwards towards it in a positive way. I wouldn’t suggest cancelling everything because as you know, positive interaction is good for you, but spending the next days and weeks negatively forecasting an event all goes in your stress bucket.
Plan – don’t avoid Christmas, it’s coming! Don’t avoid situations or making commitments. If you plan, you will be in control of what you can do. I rather like this analogy a friend who specializes in helping young people with anxiety told me this week:
You can decide to drive the Christmas bus, don’t get involved with the abusive passengers, ignore them. You are much less likely to crash if you’re concentrating on driving.
Take time out for yourself, plan in time to take a breather, go for walks, plan time away from people and time to yourself just to do nothing.
Shop online and do it in plenty of time. If the mere thought of going into town Christmas shopping fills you with dread, don’t do it, do your Christmas shopping online.
Remember, it’s OK to say no. If you need excuses, have them ready so you’re not caught unawares and feel trapped into doing something you don’t want to, but remember, people are OK with hearing no.
Don’t react to what people say or do – let it go and walk away. Take yourself out of the room with an excuse to go to the bathroom if you need to, but give yourself space and time if someone or something is getting to you, do not sit in the moment putting it in your stress bucket.
Volunteer for a charity at Christmas – Crisis, homeless, help for aged, help someone with their shopping or even invite someone you know who is going to be on their own, a neighbour perhaps to join you.
Do something different. Break your traditions or make new ones.
Exercise – it creates serotonin and burns off the adrenalin. It will quite literally help you cope with whatever Christmas throws at you.
Remember, it is just one day and life goes on after it. Look forwards to the new year and plan what you are going to do to make 2018 better than 2017.
If you have an inspiring story or something to share that you think will help others wrestling with anxiety or depression, I would love to hear from you. If you have found in particular strategy helpful, chances are that someone else will also benefit, spread the word, share the love and help the fight back against the epidemic of anxiety and depression spreading across the western world.
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