The holiday season is often seen as a time of joy, love, and togetherness. However, for many people, the holidays can actually be a difficult and overwhelming time. This is especially true for those who are dealing with loss, depression, and grief. Maybe you’re depressed that you don’t have a significant other to spend the holidays with. Or perhaps you recently went through a breakup and are feeling all alone. You may also be struggling with infertility and seeing everyone else’s happy families can make you feel even more down.
You may be estranged from your family and feel depressed that they chose something or someone else over you. This can lead to feelings of isolation and inadequacy, especially if you are constantly being compared to other family members or friends. Financial stressors can also play a role in holiday depression. Seeing others able to afford lavish gifts and celebrations while you struggle to make ends meet can be disappointing. All of these factors can contribute to feelings of depression during the holiday season.
Thought Distortions and Depression
When you feel depressed, you may have “thought distortions” that can make you feel even worse. These are negative and dysfunctional thoughts that can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. For example, you might have the distortion of “I’ll never have anyone to spend the holidays with” or “I’m not good enough for my family.” These thought patterns only serve to reinforce your negative feelings and make you feel more isolated.
When you’re feeling depressed and isolated, you probably are going to withdraw from social situations. You may not feel like going to family gatherings or attending holiday parties with friends. This feeds into the thought distortions even more, as you may feel that you are alone and don’t belong. For instance, “No one would even notice if I wasn’t there” or “I have nothing to contribute to the celebrations.”
When You’re Feeling Depressed During the Holidays
It’s important to recognize that it’s okay to not feel joyous and merry during this time of year. It’s normal to feel down when dealing with stressors and difficult emotions. Life can be hard. Going through a breakup or mourning the family that you don’t have can be hard too. These events can make you feel as if you’re not good enough or that something is wrong with you.
However, these are just your thought distortions talking. It’s important to challenge these negative thoughts and remind yourself that they are not true. This is where a depression therapist in Parkland, FL, or a depression treatment program in Coconut Creek can help. They can work with you to identify and challenge these thought distortions and develop coping mechanisms for dealing with holiday-related depression.
Coping Strategies to Combat Depression Around the Holidays
When you’re struggling with depression during the holidays, it can be helpful to have some coping strategies in place. These can help you slowly break free from the negative thought patterns and start to feel better. However, if you haven’t processed your grief or loss, these strategies may not be as effective. This is where therapy can be beneficial in helping you work through your emotions and heal from any past traumas.
Connect With Others
One of the best ways to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation is to connect with others. This can be through attending holiday events, volunteering, or even utilizing technology to speak with family and friends who may not be able to physically be there with you. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you can help alleviate some of the feelings of depression and give you a sense of belonging. Consider attending a holiday event with friends or creating your own celebration with loved ones. Having something to celebrate and engage in can help lift your spirits.
Be Mindful and Live in the Moment
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Where you are constantly worrying about what needs to be done next. Take a moment to be mindful and focus on the present. Don’t stress about having everything perfect or meeting unrealistic expectations. Instead, enjoy each moment and be grateful for what you have. This can help shift your perspective and bring some positivity into your day.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment. It can help reduce stress and promote wellbeing. All by calming your nervous system and allowing you to focus on the present. This can be especially helpful during the holiday season when stress levels tend to run high. Take a moment each day to practice mindfulness, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or simply taking a few deep breaths. For instance, when you go outside to take in the morning, take a deep breath, and focus on the sights and sounds around you. This can help ground you and bring some peace into your day.
Set Realistic Expectations
It can be easy to get caught up in the hype of the holiday season and set unrealistic expectations for yourself. You may want to attend every event, buy lavish gifts, and have a picture-perfect celebration. However, this is not always possible or necessary. Understand that it’s okay to say no and prioritize your mental health during this time. Set realistic expectations with yourself and your family, and don’t compare yourself to others. Remember that everyone’s experience is unique and valid.
For instance, if your family is newly estranged, you may be tempted to try and make everything perfect to show them how well you’re doing without them. However, it’s important to recognize that this pressure is not necessary or healthy for your well-being. Actively work on setting realistic expectations and boundaries with yourself and others.
Seek Support and Professional Help
Sometimes we can take all of the deep breaths and set all of the realistic expectations, but still feel overwhelmed and depressed. In these instances, talking to someone who understands and can provide professional support is beneficial. A depression therapist in Parkland, FL can help you gain insight into your thoughts and feelings. They can help you develop coping mechanisms to manage them. A depression treatment program in Coconut Creek can also be a helpful resource for those struggling with holiday-related depression. Especially if you feel like you need more intensive support and guidance in navigating this difficult time.
Thrive This Holiday Season With the Support of a Depression Therapist in Parkland, FL
The holiday season can be challenging for many individuals dealing with depression. From mourning relationships to feeling isolated and overwhelmed, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Seeking support from a depression therapist in Parkland, FL like psychologist, Dr. Lindsay Howard can help you navigate these difficult emotions and develop effective coping strategies. At Invigorate Counseling, I specialize in helping individuals overcome depression and improve their overall well-being. I am here to help you thrive again, not just survive. Follow these three simple steps to get started:
- Schedule a free 15-minute consultation to see if depression therapy is right for you
- Begin meeting with me, Lindsay Howard, a skilled depression therapist
- Thrive During the Holiday Season and Beyond!
Other Services Offered at Invigorate Counseling
At Invigorate Counseling, my goal is to support you in every aspect of your mental health. I understand that beyond the holidays, you may be dealing with other challenges and struggles. That’s why I offer a variety of services to support your overall well-being. Along with Depression Counseling, I offer other specialized services. These include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Grief Counseling, Anxiety Therapy, and Addiction Counseling. My services are offered for clients located in the state of Florida, specific to Parkland, Coconut Creek, Miami and Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Orlando, Tallahassee, and anywhere else in the state! For more about my practice, check out my FAQs and Blog!