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Yes, the holiday season starts within a week and it is not uncommon for people to have to deal with holiday depression or the holiday blues. While some of us can’t avoid feeling depressed or down during the holidays, there are some triggers we can avoid that will help us not be so impacted by the holiday season.

First, know that you can’t avoid stress but you can change how you deal with it during the next 2 months.  I truly believe that by applying mindfulness to stress — deep breathing, awareness, meditation, yoga, visualization — we can interrupt the damage that stress causes to our system- which does inflict depression upon us.  Start making a plan to remind yourself to breath, meditate and practice yoga when feeling extra stressed and depressed this holiday season.

Second, know that you don’t have to stay around toxic people just because it is the holiday season. Yes, this is why people send greeting cards. If someone is emotionally abusive or simply likes to stir the pot or criticize you during family gatherings, avoid them. If you can’t avoid the person at a party, don’t go. You have the option to always decline an invitation for the betterment of your mental health, although you don’t have to say that is the reason. Pick and select your parties with a critical eye. If you know toxic people will be there waiting to judge, skip the event and the stress and then the depression.

Third, don’t soak up the booze. The next 2 months are not a pass to drink all you want or eat all you want. The after effects will make you feel worse about your body, your appearance and possible bad habits / challenges. So, if you can, keep everything in moderation. Overdoing it with booze and food- especially the cookies- can lead to sugar highs and lows and weight gain or emotional reactions that aren’t good for us, make us regret things, and then these leftover feelings add to the depression. Stay positive and keep everything in perspective and moderation.

There is no magical answer to avoid depression during the holiday season, but you can know your triggers and how to avoid or handle them so you can be less stressed and less depressed.

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