Navigating The Holiday Season & Maintaining Joy

Does The Holiday Season Increase Anxiety, Depression and Addiction?

Every year, the holiday season arrives with a flurry of activity as everyone gets busy with shopping and decorating for all of their favorite events. While you just can’t help but get caught up in the beauty of seeing colorful holiday lights sparkling through the winter snow, the truth is that the season can also have a few downsides.

This time of year, many people struggle with negative emotions that are associated with anxiety, depression and addiction, and people who spend the holidays alone are at greater risk for feeling seasonal sadness. The good news is that there is much that you can do to help everyone get into a festive holiday spirit that outshines even the saddest of moods.

Understand How the Holidays Can Contribute to Stress

When you love the holidays, it is hard to understand how anyone could feel depressed this time of year. Yet, there are many people who are alone, and seeing everyone else laughing and sharing gifts with their family accentuates the loneliness that a person feels. Sadly, the holidays can also reignite a person’s grief if they have recently suffered a loss, and those who struggle financially might be feeling the strain on their budget.

People who are already coping with a mental illness such as depression may also find that less sunlight on cold and dreary days increases their symptoms. Although you may not be able to fix all of these issues, being aware of them helps you look out for the people around you and find ways to bring them some holiday cheer.

Stick to Your Plan for a Healthy Lifestyle

The first thing you need to do is make time to take care of yourself and others. Right now, you may have a list a mile long that is filled with errands to run and special events. Make sure to leave time in your schedule to do those basic things that help you stay mentally and physically well. For instance, you may need to schedule in a lunch break on a day when you are out shopping, or you may need to do a few extra minutes of exercise to make up for that huge holiday dessert.

Either way, make sure to go to sleep on time, eat right and keep your body moving so that you have the energy to make it through the busiest days of the season. Too busy to go to the gym? Consider workout programs that you can do at home, like Beachbody on Demand.

Turn Shopping Into a Social Occasion

Socializing works wonders for beating the winter blues, and you can knock out everything on your list while having fun when you bring someone special along. Consider inviting your widowed parent out for a day shopping that includes lunch together. Alternatively, you can include your divorced friend in an invite for all of your college pals to go shopping. Look around for people who may feel left out this season and entice them to get out of their house for a fun-filled shopping trip together.

Spread Holiday Cheer to Those In Need

Helping others works wonders for making a bad mood go away. Consider making some simple holiday ornaments that you can pass out in nursing centers and other areas where people may need some holiday cheer. You can also go caroling, volunteer at a community organization such as a nursing home or donate some toys to a charitable cause. With each random act of kindness, you’ll notice that you lift your spirits just as much as you lift everyone else’s.

Plan Events With Everyone’s Needs In Mind

As you plan your special events, try to remember that holiday gatherings can be challenging for some people. For example, someone who is recovering from addiction and attending AA may find it difficult to attend gatherings where alcohol is free flowing. Alternatively, your elderly friend may need someone to drive them to the event safely. Be alert for special needs among your family and friends so that you can make arrangements for them to be comfortable.

Break Up the Doldrums By Starting a New Tradition

The holidays can sometimes cause people to feel sad about the past or as though they are stuck in a rut. If you suspect this is the case for someone that you love, then get creative and put together some ideas for ways to start a new tradition. For example, you could help your elderly grandmother set up her Christmas tree after Thanksgiving dinner, or your family may decide to incorporate new traditions from a recently added in-law’s culture. Even serving a new dish or starting a gift exchange at your holiday party can liven things up so that everyone has more fun.

The holiday are a time when it is important to reach beyond ourselves and share happiness with everyone. While you can expect for most people to move through the season with joy and happiness, others may need a little compassion. By watching out for signs that others around you are struggling, you can spring into action and make sure that this holiday season is full of happy memories for everyone.

If you are or someone you know is struggling with addiction, click the link to find free support or help. Together we can make the Holiday season brighter! The Shops @Rockvale is looking forward to seeing you all during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

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