You can beat your depression - It just might take a little bit of work.
Tis’ the season to be jolly….except no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t seem to get cheerful. You made it through the holidays, but your depression still hasn’t gone away. You might also feel even more tired, lonely, and hopeless than you did during the holiday season. Feeling depressed after the holidays can hang on way too long.
Don’t beat yourself up for being depressed after the holidays. Follow these tips to get back on track.
Many people get depressed after the holidays. Holiday music often sends the message that the holiday season is full of happy times. But as a therapist, I actually see a different side of the holidays that the music doesn’t share. In fact, this time of the year can be horribly painful for many people; it could be from relationships on the rocks and lonely nights to deep sadness or no money. No matter the reason, people can get caught in deep depressions that last long after the holidays pass.
Here are a few tips on how beat your depression:
Fake it ‘til you make it:
Put a smile on your face, speak positively, and hang out with friends no matter how bad you are hurting. Research shows that the smiles will improve how we feel inside by lowering your heart rate and decreasing stress (University of Kansas study published in Psychological Science).
It can be tempting to numb your pain, but this will only last for a few hours. The truth is alcohol is a depressant: the more you drink to feel better for a few hours, the worse it hurts you emotionally in the long run. Lay off the alcohol.
30-minutes of daily exercise:
You need all the positivity you can get right now and working out releases “happy chemicals” that can balance out your mood. Make it a MUST to have a minimum of 30 minutes a day of some sort of cardio exercise.
The “depression cure” isn’t found in your bed, so stop trying to feel better by sleeping all the time. The worst thing you can do hope that positivity will suddenly appear one day. Wake up, get dressed for the day, and get out of your house. Surrounding yourself with people increases the chances of lifting your mood versus hibernating by yourself.
Ask for help:
You may not like asking for help, but your friends or family might know exactly what you need to boost your mood or make you laugh. Reach out to a few close friends, share what has been going on, and ask if they can help you through the rough patch.
Sometimes we all need a little nudge in the right direction. Therapists are able to help you find the best route of treatment and you don’t have to fight the depression alone.
Depression hurts. Plain and simple. Remember, you won’t feel like this forever. This pain is temporary as long as you reach out for help, and people do care about you. Let others be there for you, care for you, and help you out. Do yourself a favor, and make a commitment to get working and push the sadness through one day at a time. Being depressed after the holidays is nothing to be ashamed of — better days are ahead!
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653