Christmas is touted as “the most wonderful time of the year” according to a popular carol.  But for many people, Christmas feels awful and the holiday season feels dark.

If you find yourself feeling down on Christmas, you’re not alone.  Our Atlanta depression therapists understand that not everyone enjoys Christmas.

There are many reasons this could be happening.  There are often a lot of expectations of ourselves and those around us for the holiday.  You may be navigating time commitments or feeling financial stress. Maybe this is your first Christmas without a loved one.  Perhaps you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Our Atlanta depression therapists have some tips to help you through.

Be Realistic About Your Resources

You may not have an unlimited budget of money or time, and you have to cover your needs as well. 

  • Schedule time that you’re willing to spend for the holiday, whether it’s Christmas shopping, Get-togethers, or even Christmas Day.  When you schedule for all the blocks of time you set aside, then you’re done.  It’s ok to say no.
  • Schedule time for the things that fill you up.  If you’re running on empty, you’re not going to have the resources or energy for anything else.  Your needs matter.
  • Set a budget for Christmas shopping.
  • Do make sure to schedule some social time.  Isolation fuels depression, so being around others is important to prevent worsening symptoms.

An Atlanta depression therapist can help you determine what boundaries around your time and finances feel right to you.

Acknowledge That You’re Feeling Down

Don’t ignore symptoms of depression. Early intervention will help keep them from getting worse.  If you can admit that you’re feeling down, you can start to get help and make a plan to feel better.  Therapy can be a great support for you in this time.

Avoid Alcohol

The holiday season brings many opportunities for celebrations, many of which include drinking alcohol.  However, alcohol can amplify symptoms of depression- both while you’re drinking and when you’re recovering.  If you’re feeling down, don’t keep alcohol in the house and avoid it when you’re out.

Create New Traditions

Do some of the old traditions no longer work for you?  Does the idea of visiting 4 different houses in 2 days make you want to hide in bed and never come out?  It’s ok to change the way you do things.  There’s no “one size fits all” approach to Christmas.  

Maybe part of your new tradition is financial – everyone draws the name of one person to get gifts for, removing some of the financial stress.

Perhaps your new tradition needs to be centered around NOT hosting.  Maybe you and your family decide that Christmas will be a day of rest and not hustle and bustle.

Defining where your boundaries need to be will help you determine what needs to change.

Seek Therapy

If you’re noticing symptoms of depression around Christmas, our Atlanta depression therapists want to help.  There could be many factors that are contributing and we want to join you as you explore what you need in order to feel better.  Your therapist will also help you understand the thoughts, beliefs, and experiences that could be contributing to depression as well as provide you with tools for coping with it.

Please don’t delay your healing. Call us today.