As the holidays approach and another year comes to an end, many enter a period of reflection. Reflection can offer an opportunity to revel in the events of the year, or it can cause us to be consumed with self-doubt and regret. Fortunately, the challenges that come with managing depression during the holidays are not impossible.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
Identify the issue. While the signs and symptoms of depression can vary, there are some hallmarks that can alert you or those around you that you may be feeling a bit down.
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping more or less
- Inability to concentrate
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Depressed mood most of the time
- Lack of interest in activities that you used to enjoy
One of the most important factors in identifying these changes is self-awareness. Do yourself a favor and take note of how you generally live your life. If you wake up one day in December and have a difficult time remembering the last time you did the things you enjoy, it might be a sign that you are not acting or feeling like yourself.
Depression is not impossible to overcome, but why fight an unnecessary battle? If you know that you might be prone to feeling a little down during this holiday season, plan your preemptive attack now!
Create a plan for your holiday.
Goals give you something to focus on and preoccupy your mind. So, fill your mind with something exciting and productive this holiday. Not into the holiday jingles and twinkling lights? Dedicate a portion of your time to volunteer work or commit to catching up with old friends and be accountable. Make some phone calls early in the season and get these appointments on your calendar.
Create new traditions.
Is this your first holiday away from your family? If so, change your focus from longing for holidays past to designing the footprint for your very own holiday traditions. Print up some nice invitations for your first annual holiday party or book your first of many holiday vacations. Whatever you decide to do, take ownership and control over how your valuable downtime is spent, what is lacking in your life and what may need to be cut.
Utilize your resources.
Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides free and confidential assessment and counseling services. If you are concerned about your mental health, don’t hesitate to seek advice. Call your BHS Care Coordinator for confidential assistance at 800-245-1150.